June is Dairy Month, a time to honor dairy farmers who work hard every day to produce milk, a wholesome and nutritious product that can be found in households across the country. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many food banks across America, meaning hungry families often miss out on milk’s nine essential nutrients, including protein, calcium and vitamin D. While milk is one of the top items requested by food bank clients, it’s rarely donated. In fact, food banks on average are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year. To help close this gap, southeast dairy farmers and dairy farmers across the country, along with milk processors and Feeding America, came together to launch The Great American Milk Drive, a first-ever national program to help deliver nutrient-rich milk to hungry families who need it most.
This month, a local group in Tennessee announced it is joining in the effort. Tennessee 4-H students are becoming Great American Milk Drive ambassadors and raising donations within their communities throughout the month of June. Each Tennessee 4-H region will track their raised donations through unique web addresses and at the end of the month, the region that collects the most funds will have their donation matched up to 1,000 gallons by the Washington, D.C.-based Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP).
This local effort enables students to make a positive impact on their community when it’s needed the most. Nearly 400,000 children in Tennessee are food insecure and during the summer months, these children may miss out on milk’s nutrition when schools are closed and they lose access to free or reduced-priced milk programs. To make a donation in Tennessee, visit one of the following web addresses or enter your ZIP code at milklife.com/give to provide milk to hungry families in your state.
- Western Tennessee: milklife.com/give4HWestern
- Central Tennessee: milklife.com/give4HCentral
- Eastern Tennessee: milklife.com/give4HEastern
Together we can help bring highly desired, nutrient-rich milk to the table of hungry families across Tennessee.
Laura Marbury, MS, RD, LD