Michigan Dairy Farmers Combat Food Insecurity During Hunger Awareness Month and Beyond

More than 1.7 million Michigan residents struggle with hunger every day. These local families who depend on Michigan food banks receive, on average, less than one gallon of milk per person, per year. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends adults drink 68 gallons each year. Over the last two years, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM), on behalf of Michigan dairy farmers and processors, has partnered with The Kroger Co. of Michigan to help raise more than 80,000 gallons of milk through the “Pour It Forward” campaign. The milk was distributed to six food banks throughout Southeast Michigan who serve many of the state’s food-insecure residents.

The campaign, now in its third year, will run September 2 through September 30 in all Michigan Kroger stores, coinciding with Hunger Awareness Month. During the month of September, Kroger customers are invited to purchase paper gallon slips for $3 each, which is the equivalent donation of one gallon of milk to help support food banks in Southeast Michigan.  Visit BringingHopetotheTable.com for more information.

Milk is America’s number one source of calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D, and is a good source of high-quality protein. Just one gallon is enough to provide 16 children with a nutritious glass of milk. 

“Hunger is such a serious issue and milk, with its nine essential nutrients, is the ideal product to make a difference,” said UDIM Chief Executive Officer Sharon Toth. “On behalf of all Michigan dairy farm families, UDIM is incredibly proud to partner with Kroger to help food banks fill the nutrient gap and increase access to milk. There isn’t anything closer to our farmers’ hearts than feeding people.”

Donations for Pour It Forward can also be made during the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair September 4-7 at the Milk Means More booth located in the Michigan Pavilion. Visitors can donate cash, and contributions of $3 or more – enough to purchase a gallon of milk – will receive a free gift. UDIM will match all donations made at the State Fair.

In an effort to address the need for milk in food banks across the state, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan created a Text to Donate program available through the end of the year. Mobile phone users can text MILK to 50555 to donate $5 to Feeding America/Michigan, which will provide local Michigan families with much-needed milk.  UDIM will match all Text to Donate contributions through the end of 2015, up to $30,000. Donations through the Text to Donate program will go to food banks servicing the area the donor is in.

This year, UDIM hopes to raise 100,000 gallons through their partnership with Kroger and the Text to Donate program.

UDIM and The Kroger Co. of Michigan created the “Pour It Forward” campaign that has since been adopted on a national level by The Kroger Co. to benefit local food banks affiliated with Feeding America. The “Pour It Forward” campaign is part of the Great American Milk Drive, the first national program designed to help deliver nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families. The Milk Processor Education Program, National Dairy Council and Feeding America partnered to launch the Great American Milk Drive in April 2014. Since then, more than 400,000 gallons of milk have been donated nationwide. Michigan currently leads the nation in donations, with more than 52,000 gallons of milk given. 

For more information visit www.milkmeansmore.org