Help Milk Life and Feeding America Provide Milk to Families in Need – #MilkDrive
When I was just a wee lad, I was blissfully ignorant of how little money my family had. All I knew is that on some mornings, my sister and I would pour milk out of the jug from the fridge into our cereal bowls, and instead of the familiar white color that milk should be, our Cheerios were floating in a bowl of grey-blue-colored liquid. It didn’t taste like milk, but it was thicker than water.
It got the job done, but it wasn’t until years later that my sister told me that the “fake milk” was powdered milk that my parents would use when we drank all of the real milk and payday was still several days away. On those mornings, I remember staring down at my bowl of swiftly saturating Cheerios, longing for the real deal.
Truthfully, I don’t remember just how often the need to resort to fake milk came up, but milk and dairy is one of those things which, as I grew up and had my own family and as we hit our own rough financial patches, I always refused to compromise about. Our family of five goes through a lot of milk. We use it in cereal, dunk our cookies in it, my wife and I use milk in our protein shakes, and the list goes on and on.
To this day, I still shake milk cartons before pouring everything, simply because it’s an ingrained habit from the mornings where we needed to shake up the fake milk to get it to mix better. It’s an unconscious habit which I only notice when I’m around someone new when do it. Just ask my buddy, Chicago John, whose eyes nearly popped out of his face when he saw me shaking his gallon jug of milk before asking me, “Dude. What the hell are you doing to my milk?”
As schools shut down for the summer, more than 22 million children may miss out on milk’s nutrition when schools are closed and they lose access to free or reduced-price milk programs. While programs like the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) fund school lunches and breakfasts for food insecure children, these federal programs do not reach children when school is out, which leaves children in a nutrition deficit.
Milk — a nutrient powerhouse providing 9 essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality protein in each 8 ounce serving — is one of the most requested items by food bank clients year-round. But it’s especially needed during the summer when kids may be missing out on the meals provided through their schools. On average, food banks are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year. That’s because while Americans are generous with canned and dry goods, many don’t think to donate milk because it’s perishable. I’ve even volunteered at my local food bank to help put together food care packages and I have to be honest, it never occurred to me that something perishable like milk could be given to families in need.
This post isn’t about starting in on the debate over vegan vs. non-vegan diets and lifestyles. The fact remains that when 1 in 6 Americans struggle with hunger, including nearly 16 million children cannot get access to nutritious foods, they are being set up for failure down the road. It’s a tragedy to see happen, especially when something as simple as a gallon of milk can really make a big difference. As was the case of 6-year-old me, it can mean the difference between refusing to eat a disgusting breakfast, or having the opportunity to eat something healthy which will help fuel a child’s development.
On June 16, The Great American Milk Drive is challenging America to donate gallons of milk for kids in need in their communities with a major, one-day social media milk drive. America’s milk companies and dairy farmers will make gallons multiply across the country by matching up to $10,000 in donations. You can follow this social media-driven milk drive on Facebook and Twitter with #MilkDrive.
But you don’t have to wait until June 16th to make a donation! Click here to make your donation today!