Starting this December, 17 regional dairy brands owned by Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) will help fill a real need at food pantries across the country with the donation of more than 2 million shelf-stable “The Giving Cow” milk products.

Milk is one of the most requested yet least donated items at food banks, Kansas City, Kan.-based DFA said. This is largely because the regional food pantries and shelters, which are served by food banks, often lack the necessary refrigeration to store fresh milk. In fact, according to Feeding America, people who get assistance from food pantries typically receive the equivalent of less than 1 gallon of milk per person a year.

The single-serve, 8-ounce “The Giving Cow” packs of ultra-high temperature (UHT) pasteurized milk have a shelf life of up to 12 months, DFA said. Typically, fresh milk has a shelf life of approximately 20 days after processing. The Giving Cow milk packages are specifically designed for food pantries and kids’ backpack programs to fight hunger and will not be sold in stores.

“When we learned that millions of kids are missing out on nutrient-rich milk, which is a childhood essential, we knew that we had to try and be a part of the solution,” said Sharon Springborn, senior director of brand marketing for DFA Dairy Brands. “The Giving Cow packs provide valuable nutrition and are shelf-stable, so they don’t require cold storage, which we know can sometimes be limited at smaller food pantries and shelters.”

DFA said its regional brands participating in The Giving Cow program include Alta Dena Dairy, Cass-Clay Creamery, Country Fresh Dairy, Garelick Farms, Guida’s Dairy, Jilbert Dairy, Kemps, Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms, Mayfield Dairy Farms, Meadow Gold Dairy, Oak Farms Dairy, PET Dairy, Purity Dairy, Reiter Dairy, Swiss Premium Dairy, T.G. Lee Dairy and Tuscan Dairy Farms. Earlier this year, to help families struggling with hunger, DFA, along with its farm family-owners, donated 21 refrigerators to local food pantries across its seven regional Areas throughout the United States and the equivalent of more than 225,000 servings of milk.

To get more details about how The Giving Cow program is giving back in local communities, go to and click on one of the brand logos to go directly to the brand page, where you can sign up to receive updates on donations.