BOSTON (CBS) – Many families took advantage of a free milk giveaway at Boston College High School Thursday aimed at helping people struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus crisis.

The drive-up event was made possible by a donation of 8,600 gallons of whole milk from the Dairy Farmers Of America. About 4,000 people accepted it and the milk ran out in about seven hours. Organizers hope to do giveaways every week in Boston and other cities.

The National Guard and MEMA helped place the milk in cars of people who lined up at the school Thursday morning. There was a two-gallon limit per car.

“It’s incredibly important and meaningful to the soldiers,” one soldier said.

A milk giveaway at Boston College High School. (WBZ-TV)

Dairy farmers have been left with surplus milk because school and restaurants have not needed it. Over 40% of their market has evaporated, a spokesperson said. The farmers didn’t want the supply to go to waste.

“The dairymen said ‘There has to be a better way.’ Even though they’re struggling, they knew there are people with much greater need than they are, and they got together,” said John Hanselman, CEO of Vanguard Renewables.

Randy Jordan is a dairy farmer from Rutland. He said he was dumping his extra milk before the donations became an option.

“It’s devastating financially,” he said. “It’s really heart-wrenching and very disappointing.”

People who took the milk home said they were very grateful.

“It’s such a blessing,” one woman said. “I want to say thankful and I don’t know how. I just beep my horn on my way out. I truly appreciate everything people are doing for others.”