DFA Lends a Hand in Baltimore

Cooperative Staff Participate in Afternoon of Service
September 30, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Access to affordable food is a challenge more and more Americans face each year. This week, nearly 300 employees of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) worked to address this issue for one Baltimore community by convening at Real Food Farm for an afternoon of service. The volunteer event has become a tradition at DFA’s annual training conference, which is held in a different city each year.

The activity was coordinated and managed by Business Volunteers Unlimited Maryland (BVU) through a partnership with Civic Works, an organization dedicated to building a future for Baltimore’s youth through community service and skills development. Volunteers worked on Civic Works’ campus in Clifton Park, which is in the Belair-Edison neighborhood of Baltimore.

Volunteers supported two of Civic Works’ largest programs, Real Food Farm and the REACH Partnership school, by preparing land at the farm for the winter and performing multiple site maintenance and beautification projects for both programs. Among the day’s activities were painting a structure used for educational events, weeding hoop houses, mulching pathways, clearing land for additional hoop houses and reclaiming an overgrown wetland wildlife area.

Through ongoing hunger and nutrition initiatives and volunteer activities such as this, DFA members and staff are able to fulfill one of the Cooperative’s core values — community. Outreach projects are conducted through the DFA Cares Foundation, which was founded to assist DFA’s dairy farmer members and others in agriculture communities affected by natural disasters. Today, the Foundation has expanded to include the DFA Cares Hotline, DFA’s Member Assistance Program and the DFA Scholarship Program.

Civic Works is Baltimore’s urban service corps and an AmeriCorps program. Its mission is to build a future for Baltimore’s youth through community service and skills development. Every year, corps members spend a year or a summer in service to Baltimore, and in return, receive a modest living allowance, an education award that can be used for college or vocational school, and the job readiness and life skills needed to secure and maintain employment.

BVU is a nonprofit organization in Baltimore that is committed to strengthening the community. BVU trains and places professionals on nonprofit boards and offers guidance to companies on civic engagement and employee volunteer activities.