ROSEMONT, Ill. — In honor of National Dairy Month, America’s dairy community – farmers and milk and dairy brands – is building on its commitment to nourish people by joining forces with Feeding America to address food and nutrition instability and child hunger, issues that are increasingly relevant in summer months.
One in six children in the U.S. faces hunger*. The problem is compounded in the summertime when more than 18 million children may lose access to free or reduced-price school meal programs and as a result, could miss out on dairy, including milk, and other important nutrition. And while some programs like the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program help deliver meals when school is not in session, the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program don’t reach kids during the summer months.
That’s why food banks play an even more critical role in helping children access nutrient-rich foods like milk and dairy foods when school isn’t in session. As the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S., the Feeding America network of food banks provided 10 million meals through nearly 6,000 meal sites last summer.
The entire dairy community, along with Feeding America, will be kicking off National Dairy Month by rallying consumers across the country to get nutritious food to families who need it. At the national level, a three-vehicle convoy will embark on a cross-country tour in June and July to provide kids with free milk and dairy foods at locations including farmers markets, feeding sites and sporting events.
Community pop-up events replicating the convoy experience will also take place in markets coast to coast, from Hilmar, Calif., to New Gloucester, Maine.
“The fact that so many people – maybe even your neighbors’ kids – may be at risk of hunger when they are out of school for the summer is hard to wrap your head around,” said Laila Ali, professional boxer, TV personality and champion of health and fitness. “I’m excited to team up with a community as passionate about a cause as dairy farmers are around hunger, so we can increase kids’ access to vital nutrition, including milk and other dairy foods, this summer.”
Over the last five years, the dairy community has donated more than 31 million servings of milk to children and families in need through The Great American Milk Drive, and is committed to providing 50 million servings of milk to children and families in need by 2020. People can take action against hunger and help increase access to nutrient-rich foods by donating milk at www.giveagallon.com. Even a small donation can make a big impact – for as little as $5, food banks can deliver fresh milk to children and families who need it most in their community.
“As farmers who produce quality milk and dairy foods for America, we believe that all families should have access to the nutritious foods they need,” said Marilyn Hershey, Pennsylvania dairy farmer, chair of Dairy Management Inc. and a member of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s board. “That’s why we’ve been committed to supporting youth wellness through programs like Fuel Up to Play 60 and founding organizations like GENYOUth, which deliver dairy nutrition and resources that create healthier school environments and increase access to healthy foods among students.”
The dairy food group provides nutrients kids need for growth and development, and milk provides nine essential nutrients and is the top food source of three of the nutrients most likely to be missing from kids’ diets – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
The National Dairy Month effort is supported by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and its Undeniably Dairy campaign, as well as the Milk Processor Education Program’s (MilkPEP) Milk. Love What’s Realcampaign, which is built on a core promise to inspire people to savor what’s real and what really matters. To learn more about the Undeniably Dairyand Milk. Love What’s Real campaigns, visit:
- UndeniablyDairy.org (see also Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube)
- MilkLife.com (see also Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube)
*Gundersen, C., A. Dewey, M. Kato, A. Crumbaugh & M. Strayer. Map the Meal Gap 2019: A Report on County and Congressional District Food Insecurity and County Food Cost in the United States in 2017. Feeding America, 2019.
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Dairy Management Inc.™ (DMI) is funded by America’s nearly 40,000 dairy farmers, as well as dairy importers. Created to help increase sales and demand for dairy products, DMI and its related organizations work to increase demand for dairy through research, education and innovation, and to maintain confidence in dairy foods, farms and businesses. DMI manages National Dairy Council and the American Dairy Association and founded the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.
TheInnovation Center for U.S. Dairy® is a forum that brings together the dairy community to address the changing needs and expectations of consumers through a framework of shared best practices and accountability. Initiated in 2008 by dairy farmers through the dairy checkoff, we collaborate on efforts that are important both to us and our valued customers – issues like animal care, food safety, nutrition and health, the environment and economics. The Innovation Center is committed to continuous improvement from farm to table, striving to ensure a socially responsible and economically viable dairy community.
The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington D.C., is funded by the nation’s milk companies, who are committed to increasing fluid milk consumption. The MilkPEP Board runs the Milk Life campaign, a multi-faceted campaign designed to educate consumers about the powerful nutritional benefits of milk – with 9 essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, in each 8-ounce glass. For more information, go to milklife.com. Campbell Ewald is creative agency for the Milk Life campaign – from America’s milk companies.