That gallon of milk you consider a staple in your refrigerator is missing in South Florida food banks.
According to Feeding America®, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, milk is one of the items most requested by food bank clients, yet there is a nationwide shortage because it is rarely donated. Feeding America clients receive the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year.
That will soon change with the recent launch of The Great American Milk Drive, the first-ever national program to help deliver highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families who need it most.
With a simple click of a mouse (www.milklife.com/give) or text message (text “Milk” to 27722), it is now possible to buy much-needed milk and donate it for as little as $5 to a family who does not have regular access to milk. By entering your zip code, you can ensure that the milk is delivered to a local Feeding America food bank in your very own community.
Hunger impacts 1 in 6 Americans, including 12.5 million families who do not have access to adequate nourishment to help them reach their full potential. Hunger has no boundaries and is a problem that exists in urban, suburban and rural communities. In fact, more than 800,000 people living in South Florida are considered to be “food insecure” by Feeding America.
With its network of more than 200 food banks and 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters throughout the country, Feeding America helps provide food to families in need – including many in South Florida.
“We serve approximately 325 partner agencies throughout Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, but we simply don’t receive enough milk donations throughout the year to supply families with the necessary nutrients that come from milk,” said Paco Velez, CEO of Feeding South Florida. “These donations will go a long way in helping meet the needs of our clients and their families.”
It’s been a challenge for Feeding America to meet the demand for milk due to the lack of donations – canned goods and other non-perishable items are more likely to be donated. Now, it’s going to be easier for South Florida residents to lend a hand and contribute nutritious milk to food insecure families.
The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., which works to increase fluid milk consumption, will match milk donations, gallon-for-gallon, until May 25.
“Florida’s dairy farmers are proud of the industry’s efforts to help nourish those who, unfortunately, don’t have adequate access to milk,” said Matt Lussier, president of Florida Dairy Farmers. “This problem is large in scale, and helping food banks gain access to the protein and nutrients in milk will have a major impact on the families who utilize their services.”
The Great American Milk Drive is made possible by the nation’s dairy farmers and milk companies. The goal of the campaign is to deliver two million gallons of milk to food banks across the country, and South Florida residents can help meet that goal.
Nourishing Our Nation – The Need Is Greater Than Ever
Many Americans are pressured financially due to a convergence of economic stresses – which means more people are turning to their local food bank for help. Compared to four years ago, one million more people are seeking emergency food assistance from the Feeding America network each week. Increasingly, food banks have introduced nutrition criteria for the meals served to clients. More than two-thirds of the groceries distributed by the Feeding America network meet Feeding America’s “Foods To Encourage” guideline, based on the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines, which include a serving of milk.
A recent network survey of Feeding America food banks revealed that 94 percent of respondents are actively working on improving the nutritional quality of meals provided to food bank clients. Yet, 95 percent of those surveyed say they do not receive enough milk to meet the demand. The number one reason cited is inadequate milk donations.
Milk tops the list of the food items most requested by food bank participants (85 percent), followed by fresh fruits (77 percent) and fresh vegetables (74 percent). While several recent initiatives have focused on getting more produce into feeding programs, The Great American Milk Drive is the first program to help resolve the milk shortage.
For more information about Florida Dairy Farmers, visit www.floridamilk.com. To learn more about The Great American Milk Drive, or to make a donation today, visit www.milklife.com/give.
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About Florida Dairy Farmers
Florida Dairy Farmers is Florida’s milk promotion group, working to educate people on the dairy farming industry and the nutrient-rich foods it provides. FDF represents more than 130 dairy farming families throughout the state. For more information, call 407-647-8899 or visit www.floridamilk.com.
About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that 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 http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.