(LaPorte, IN) - The mood of hundreds of people showing up for free milk Tuesday in Michigan City and LaPorte soured just a bit when the giveaway was canceled. An extended delay with a truck hauling the milk from Chicago was blamed for having to reschedule the event.
Jim Musial, executive director at Citizens Concerned for the Homeless in Michigan City, said a new date for the milk distribution arranged by his organization has not been decided. “Our sincerest apologies to the community,” he said.
More than 100 vehicles were in line for the milk outside Marquette Mall in Michigan City where the two-hour distribution was scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. There were 70 vehicles outside the PAX Center in LaPorte where the giveaway was supposed to start at 10:30 a.m.
Musial said the event was canceled after 11 a.m. when the trucking firm couldn’t guarantee when the milk would arrive. He said 4,000 gallons of milk at both locations combined were supposed to be handed out.
The remaining 1,400 gallons were committed to local food pantries. Doug Burrows of LaPorte waited more than 90 minutes before leaving disappointed. He’s been laid off from his maintenance job at the Indiana Toll Road plaza near Rolling Prairie since March 13 because of COVID-19.
Burrows said he just recently began receiving unemployment checks and is due to report back to work next week. “It was rough on me for a long time,” he said. The milk was part of the $3 billion in dairy, fresh produce and meat products the United States Department of Agriculture purchased in April to help all parts of the country with hunger brought on by the pandemic.
Musial said his group has distributed 50,000 pounds of USDA food to local pantries over the past four weeks.
He said another six weeks of USDA deliveries of food here will begin in early July. “It’s helped a lot of people and it continues to,” Musial said.