Have you ever made a late-night milk run, because it’s a staple in your family’s home and you were out? How often do you drink milk, put it on your cereal, or use it for cooking or in your morning coffee? Many families in the South can’t afford to make that late-night run to the store to grab a gallon of milk. The South has some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the country and some families face hunger daily. One in eight Americans struggle with hunger and many rely on food banks for nutrition assistance.
Food banks receive ample donations of canned and dry goods, but fresh milk is rarely donated because it is perishable. Currently, food bank families receive less than 1 gallon of milk per person per year. This means hungry families and individuals are missing out on the health benefits of dairy that milk provides including 8 grams of high-quality protein, calcium, vitamin D and potassium per serving. To help close this nutrition gap, our Southeast dairy farmers, along with dairy farmers and milk companies from across the country, established The Great American Milk Drive. It is the first nationwide program to deliver nutrient-rich milk to hungry families who need it most.
This time of year is known as the ‘Giving Season.’ From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is when one-third of annual charitable donations are made in the U.S. I encourage you to give the goodness of milk this season by donating to The Great American Milk Drive. You can help keep milk in the homes of families in need in your own community. Entering your ZIP code with your online donation ensures milk is delivered to a local Feeding America food bank in your community.
Join me in giving the goodness of milk this holiday!
Stephanie H. Yow, MS, RD, CSP, LD