By Victor Zaborsky, MilkPEP
The holidays are a time of goodwill, gratitude and celebrations filled with milk and cookies. This season, thanks to the generosity of donors across the country, The Great American Milk Drive, the dairy industry’s national cause, will deliver its 1 millionth gallon of milk to the Feeding America network of food banks. This is a significant milestone and one that we as an industry are proud to celebrate.
It’s through the support of the entire industry that we’ve reached this milestone – through retail activations, local events, social media efforts, company match donations, community efforts and of course, personal support. Together, we’ve made solving hunger and meeting the milk needs in our communities a core mission of the dairy industry, and we’re proud of the progress we’ve made to date.
Milk is a most-requested but least-donated item at food banks
Still, there’s more we can do. More than 46 million Americans – including 12 million children – are served by Feeding America network food banks each year, and while Americans are generous with canned and dry goods, many don’t donate milk because it’s perishable.
Milk remains one of the most-requested but least-donated items in Feeding America food banks, which means kids in need may be missing out on the nine essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, that it supplies. Milk is naturally nutrient-rich and is the top food source for calcium, vitamin D and potassium, three of the nutrients most likely to be missing from Americans’ diets – including kids’ diets. Unfortunately, on average, food banks are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person, per year.
Dairy processors can help on #GivingTuesday, Nov. 29, 2016
With one third of annual giving taking place during the holidays, this is a crucial time to take part and help fight hunger in communities across the country. Together we can inspire our local communities to give thanks for what they have by sharing the gift of highly desired, nutrient-rich milk to families who need it most.
On #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving on Nov. 29, and throughout the holidays, the milk industry will use the power of our collective voice via social media channels, local market activations and powerful partnerships to spread an important message that has potential to help kids and families in our communities.
Milk drive participates include Cheryls.com and M&Ms at Walmart
We ask you to join us in raising awareness and supporting this important industry cause during the holiday season. There are a number of ways you can get involved, from partnering with local bakeries to creating impactful social media campaigns. MilkPEP provides a wide range of turnkey assets to support your activations, and we’re available to help you bring The Great American Milk Drive to life in your local market. A few opportunities include:
1. Send Cookies This Holiday Season. Sending gifts to colleagues, friends or family? You can sweeten the season for a family in need when you send a Cheryl’s Great American Milk Drive Cookie Gift. Through Dec. 31, Cheryls.com will donate 15% of qualifying cookie gifts to deliver nutrient-rich milk to Feeding America.
2. Partner With A Bakery. Milk processors and dairy organizations can partner with a local bakery to create a holiday cookie to benefit The Great American Milk Drive and host an in-store media event or social media campaign. MilkPEP provides promotional resources and assets to help raise awareness and develop meaningful and valuable community relationships.
3. Support Us On Social Media. Holiday-themed social media content will be available to use on your channels. Be sure to participate on #GivingTuesday (Nov. 29) and throughout the season.
4. Make The Great American Milk Drive Part of Your Holiday Plans. Milk processors and dairy organizations can leverage customizable tools and resources including key messages and media materials for local event outreach, signage for local events, point-of-sale, merchandising materials and more.
5. Consider Year-End Charitable Giving. As always, please consider including The Great American Milk Drive in any personal or business donations by visiting MilkLife.com/give. With a donation of as little as $5, you can sweeten the season for a family in need in your community, helping to ensure that all children have the potential to learn, grow and play.
6. Buy M&Ms at Walmart. Through Dec. 25, every time you buy M&M’s at Walmart, fresh nutrient-rich milk will be donated to Feeding America. Visit MyConfectionCorner.com for more information.
Visit milkpep.org or call 800-945-MILK (6455) for more information and additional resources.
Victor Zaborsky is vice president of marketing at the Milk Processor Education Program, Washington, D.C.