As a milk industry, we continue to see all that we can accomplish when we work together – whether it’s building consumer confidence or uniting for an important cause. I’m particularly passionate about the collaboration that’s happening with The Great American Milk Drive, uniting milk companies, farmers and other industry members to help deliver highly desired gallons of nutrient-rich milk to hungry families in their communities.

This cause offers a sustainable solution to an important issue that people care about: food insecurity and the need for milk at food banks across the country. The Great American Milk Drive has already created a number of collaborative industry efforts highlighted by the unified support we saw at the International Dairy Show and by Great American Milk Drive activations from retailers across the country this year.

Many partners who activated in 2015 have already signed on to activate again next year, showing a great opportunity for this long-term strategy to help make an impact. Other industry partners such as the California Milk Advisory Board have generously committed to matching consumer donations year-round and during the holiday season. The entire dairy industry can support this cause year-round, particularly during the holiday giving season, when food banks are at their busiest.

Give milk on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015

For many of us, the holidays aren’t complete without milk and cookies or a cozy cup of hot cocoa – but families in need are often missing out on milk and its nine essential nutrients. This holiday season, we have the potential to reach millions of Americans struggling with food insecurity. Beginning on Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving on Dec. 1, we’re asking the industry to help make the holiday season brighter for families facing hunger with the gift of nutrient-rich milk. MilkPEP is making a number of resources available to the industry, which will help spark conversation and donations towards this important cause.

As a dairy community, we can build awareness and support of our mission during the giving season by letting our friends, families and industry contacts know that we have made a donation to The Great American Milk Drive on their behalf. We have beautiful holiday card inserts available for purchase which can be used for corporate and/or personal holiday cards. The proceeds from all cards go directly to help deliver nutrient-rich milk to families in need during this critical time.

MilkPEP has several tools and resources available to the industry to further amplify the cause during the holidays, including engaging social content – such as articles, recipes and videos– as well as new POS, holiday key messages for local events and media, and more. Processors can visit to learn how to order holiday cards, download assets and get involved during the holiday season.

Food banks and dairy processors develop relationships

In 2016, the industry will lay the foundation to open up a new channel for milk – helping increase the availability of milk at food banks by convening food banks and local processors to develop sustainable milk purchasing relationships. Such partnerships will create a consistent new customer for the milk companies and provide food banks regular access to much-needed milk at an affordable price.

We’re looking forward to further industry participation in 2016 as The Great American Milk Drive continues to deliver much-needed donations of milk to food banks, increase positive perceptions of milk and drive incremental category growth. We’re proud of the impact the industry has seen thus far and look forward to continued collaboration to help the hungry in all of our communities. From our partners at the International Dairy Foods Association, the California Milk Advisory Board, the California Milk Processors Board and the National Dairy Council, to the processors and farmers, to the approximately 70 retailers who’ve played a part in some way, we can continue to help make a difference.

Thank you for your continued focus and dedication to a very important industry cause.