Milk Means More

Plymouth Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team Gives Back to Community with Milk Drive

A semi-annual Michigan Milk Drive, conducted by Busch's Fresh Market, Prairie Farms, and Milk Means More, continues to help Michigan families in need. Milk is the number one requested item at food pantries but is rarely donated. These drives provide milk to Forgotten Harvest, Food Gatherers and local pantries serving the Busch’s communities.

The next Milk Drive will be held September 25 through October 1 at all Busch’s locations, including the Plymouth location on Sheldon Road. Since milk is perishable, Busch’s shoppers are asked to donate a virtual gallon of milk by making a $2.50 donation at the register. Milk Means More, supported by Michigan dairy farmers and companies, will match each donation up to $10,000. Fresh, wholesome milk from Prairie Farms is delivered to the food banks as they need it for families.

Plymouth’s very own girls’ varsity basketball team will be teaming up once again to work the Milk Drive. This marks the team’s second season of participating in the drive, enriching the community through service.

“Our kids love participating in the Milk Drives, as it gives them an opportunity to serve the community,” says varsity head coach, Ryan Ballard. “Servant leadership is one of the core values of our program, and our kids know that you don't have to be great to serve, but you must serve to be great.”

Ballard has coached at Plymouth High School for five years, where he has worked as an assistant to the varsity boys’ basketball team for three years, and now enters his third season as the head varsity coach of the girls’ program. Ballard says he enjoys having his team participate in the Milk Drive because it allows them to “get comfortable being uncomfortable,” and teaches the team members communication skills while giving back to the community, life lessons made for on and off the court.

“We want our kids always to ask the question, ‘What can I do for others?’" says Ballard. “I also love the team bonding aspect of the Milk Drive. Our kids get to hang out with each other outside of basketball and develop strong friendships, which drives a positive team culture.”

To show gratitude to the players for their service, Milk Means More provides a chocolate milk grant to the team in order to help them refuel for the upcoming season. Like many coaches and athletes, Ballard finds chocolate milk as a great refueling option.

“Chocolate milk provides the protein and carbs to replenish muscles after some of our toughest workouts,” said Ballard. “Over the past year, we have seen our team get bigger, faster, and stronger from weight training and improved nutrition.”

Ballard hopes the team can participate in the Milk Drive for years to come, as this event is a winning situation for all parties involved.

This year the drive comes with a different twist. The school team who helps the store exceed their goal by the highest percentage will receive a $1,000 bonus to spend as a team, adding an extra motivation to give back to the community.


About the United Dairy Industry of Michigan

The United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) is Milk Means More, which serves as the umbrella organization for the Dairy Council of Michigan and the American Dairy Association of Michigan. On behalf of Michigan’s dairy farm families, these non-profit organizations provide science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier society, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media. For more information, visit