Dear Industry Friends and Colleagues,
It’s not too often that we have an opportunity like this.
The nation’s milk processors and dairy farmers are coming together with Feeding America, America’s largest network of food banks, to launch the Great American Milk Drive – the first-ever nationwide program that will encourage consumers to donate milk to hungry families.
Hunger can be an invisible issue, but it’s happening in your community, whether urban or rural. It’s a problem that impacts 1 in 6 Americans, including 16 million children. These are children who don’t have dependable, consistent access to enough food due to their family’s limited resources. These are kids who are not simply going hungry, they’re missing out on the nourishment they need to reach their full potential.
That’s where we can help.
Milk is the top food requested by Feeding America’s clients, but food banks can’t meet the demand because milk is rarely donated -- most contributions include canned goods and other non-perishable items. The 37 million Americans served annually in the Feeding America network receive the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year.
Our work started in 2012 when dairy farmers, through the National Dairy Council, convened Feeding America and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to collaboratively address this gap. This partnership has raised awareness among thought leaders, educated the hunger community about nutrient-rich foods and developed local business models (for cooperatives, processors and retailers) to increase access to milk. Now, with the Great American Milk Drive, milk processors and dairy farmers have created an innovative program that will bring unprecedented national attention and consumer engagement – and get our nutritious product in the hands of those who need it, including young kids. It’s a program that gives back to our communities and allows us to address the growing epidemic of food insecurity. Plus, it shines the spotlight on the vital nutrient contributions of milk – something everyone deserves.
We’re going to make it easy for people to buy milk and donate it to their local food pantry for as little as $5.00. All it will take is a simple text or click of a mouse: www.milklife.com/give. Every dollar collected will go to purchase and deliver fresh, nutritious milk to these hungry families via our partnership with Feeding America. The program launches in early April in New York City at one of the country’s largest food banks, City Harvest, along with simultaneous events in nine other markets around the country.
Together, we’re putting millions of dollars of marketing support and thousands of hours of staff time behind The Great American Milk Drive to elevate the issue, build a consistent and sustainable supply for food banks and encourage donations. This is a big problem that won’t be solved overnight. So we’ve made a multi-year commitment – which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to build customized local programs to fit your business and meet the needs in your community.
There are so many ways you can get involved. Please visit our online campaign headquarters at MilkPEP.org/drive
to learn how you can support the program and create your own events with local food banks and retailers.
Together, we can help nourish our nation.
Paul Rovey, Chairman, Dairy Management Inc.
Tom Gallagher, CEO, Dairy Management Inc.
Jay Bryant , Board Chairman, Milk Processor Education Program
Julia Kadison, Interim CEO, Milk Processor Education Program