Holy Cow! Harlem Girl's Winning Entry to Mascot-Naming Contest for NYC Charity 'Milk from the Heart' Won her Family a Free Trip to Dairy Farm

Aug 23, 2011, 18:30 ET from Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness

NEW YORK, Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As eight-year-old Harlem resident Alexa Cabrera waited with her family to get free milk from Milk from the Heart, a program that provides fresh 1% milk to thousands of low-income families in undernourished communities in New York City, she entered a contest to name the cow mascot the charity uses to help educate children about the importance of milk for a healthy diet, and that adorns the mobile milk truck that distributes free milk to families in need.

By submitting the winning name—Becky Moo-Moo—on Saturday, Alexa and her family won a tour of the Sweetman Dairy Farm, a working farm in Warwick, New York.

Alexa, a milk lover, was thrilled with the experience. "I loved meeting the cows and listening to the farmer talk about his job," says Alexa, who was accompanied to the farm by her parents and two siblings.

The Cabrera family toured the Sweetman Dairy Farm, seeing the cows that provide milk to New Yorkers, and learning how milk gets from farm to table. The children pet the cows, saw where the animals were milked, where the milk was stored, and got to understand life on a dairy farm.

"The family got an overall feel and appreciation for the farm," says Tunis Sweetman, the owner of the Sweetman Dairy Farm, which is home to 175 Holstein cows that produce fresh wholesale milk year-round. "We look forward to any time we can make a connection between our farm and the consumer."

The trip was sponsored by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc.

"Dairy farmers' commitment to providing high quality milk begins with top-notch animal care and farming practices," says Brenda Beltram, a spokesperson for the American Dairy Association. "Visiting a dairy farm is an ideal opportunity for those far removed from rural communities to see firsthand how dairy farmers preserve and recycle natural resources to produce foods that are nutritious and wholesome."

Milk from the Heart is one of many initiatives run by Homes for the Homeless, a leading New York City-based social services provider for 25 years. Milk from the Heart provides free fresh milk to low-income children and families in New York City, at 16 locations in Manhattan and the Bronx. Milk from the Heart Program Coordinator Jonah Nelson says this trip was part of Milk from the Heart's mission to instill the importance of drinking milk to low-income families."

"Milk is important for growing children, and we're doing everything we can to make drinking milk an enjoyable experience," Nelson says. "The more families know, the more they can make informed choices."

Photos and interviews are available. For more information about Milk from the Heart, contact Diana Scholl at dscholl@icphusa.org/212-358-8086, or visit http://www.hfhnyc.org/milkfromtheheart/

Homes for the Homeless understands that poverty is a family issue. Since 1986, Homes for the Homeless has provided services to enhance the lives of New York City's neediest families. The programs range from family homeless shelters to summer camps for children experiencing homelessness and poverty, to our latest project, Milk from the Heart, which provides free milk to hundreds of children in undernourished communities in New York City. The guiding tenet behind all efforts is a family-based, child-centered, education-focused approach to addressing family poverty and homelessness. The American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc. (ADADC) is a non-profit corporation that is funded and directed by dairy farmers. Through its education and promotion efforts, ADADC works hard to reach consumers of all ages to inform them of the many health benefits of dairy products and the importance of the dairy industry to our economy.

CONTACT: Diana Scholl, +1-212-358-8086 ext. 1223, DScholl@icphusa.org

SOURCE Homes for the Homeless