That gallon of milk you consider a staple in your refrigerator is missing in many of California’s 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 it is rarely donated. That will soon change with the 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.
Hunger impacts one in six Americans, including 12.5 million families who do not have access to adequate nourishment to help them reach their full potential. The facts are even more alarming locally with one in four Californians suffering from poverty, the highest rate in any state. Over 6.5 million California residents experience food insecurity and due to the perishable nature of foods like milk, Feeding America food bank clients receive, on average, only one gallon of milk per person per year and obtain less than the suggested servings of milk to fulfill a well-balanced diet. To help combat this, Feeding America has teamed up with the dairy industry, including the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), the creator of “got milk?,” to launch The Great American Milk Drive and alleviate hunger in local communities.
“Food insecurity is a big problem throughout the United States, including for millions of Californians who struggle to get the nutrition they need,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America.
With a simple click of a mouse (at www.gotmilk.com) or a text message (text “Milk” to 27722), it is now possible to buy much-needed milk and donate it to a family who does not have regular access to it. By entering your zip code, you can ensure the donation stays in your community. Funds will be converted into vouchers that go to local food banks and into the hands of families in need. The vouchers can be redeemed at local grocery stores, eliminating any food pantry space or refrigeration obstacles.
All 43 Feeding America food banks in California will participate, along with their distribution partners, including Foodlink for Tulare County and Kings Community Action Organization.
“No one should have to suffer from hunger or lack basic staples like milk,” said Steve James, executive director of the CMPB.
Feeding America is a nationwide network that provides 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 it serves, educates the public about the problem of hunger, and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. For more information, visit www.feedingamerica.org.
To find out how you can help your local community or to learn more about the Great American Milk Drive, visit www.gotmilk.com.