Chicago-based Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization — alongside America's dairy farmers and milk companies — said it is working to pour more milk for kids in need this June for National Dairy Month. The Great American Milk Drive, a program of the Washington, D.C.-headquartered Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), makes it easy for consumers to donate nutrient-rich milk to local children and families who face hunger.
With 8 grams of protein per serving and three of the top nutrients most likely to be missing in kids' diet — calcium, vitamin D and potassium — milk is an efficient and affordable way for America's feeding programs to get critical nourishment to kids and families who need it, Feeding America and MilkPEP said.
Although some programs — for example, the USDA's Summer Food Service Program — help to provide meals when school is not in session, the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program do not reach children during the summer months.
"At Feeding America, we know that fresh milk is a challenging item to donate. But we also know milk is one of the most requested items among families and individuals served in our network," said Andy Wilson, chief development officer at Feeding America. "Thanks to our work with The Great American Milk Drive, we have a way to help families in need pour more milk for their children, helping to ensure they have the nutrients they need to thrive."
Since 2014, Feeding America has partnered with The Great American Milk Drive to help deliver milk to its nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. Through this program, more than 1.5 million gallons — or more than 24 million servings — of milk have been delivered to food banks, the organizations noted. Yet, there's still more to do.
While consumers are generous with canned foods and dry goods, food banks are able to provide less than 1 gallon of milk per person, per year.
"Milk can be harder to donate because it's perishable, which is why this program is so critical in helping to ensure that all kids have the nutrients they need to grow and develop," said Victor Zaborsky, vice president of marketing for MilkPEP. "America's milk brands and dairy families are committed to solving hunger in our communities, and together, with The Great American Milk Drive, have set a goal of providing 50 million servings of fresh nutrient-rich milk to kids and families served by Feeding America by 2020."
This Dairy Month — and all summer long — The Great American Milk Drive is making it easy to deliver fresh milk, including its nine essential nutrients, to kids and families, the organizations said. For as little as $5 at milklife.com/give, consumers may deliver a gallon of fresh milk to a family in need right in their own communities.