National Dairy Council and Feeding America have formed a fabulous partnership that fuels a program to get much needed milk to the food banks, which is especially important during the holiday season. In 2014, this partnership provided grants to Feeding America food banks to help increase their access to fresh dairy foods. St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix, Arizona, was a recipient of one of these grants. They used the funds to purchase two reach-in refrigeration units to store dairy foods at their Knight Distribution Center, where thousands of low-income clients come for emergency food. These refrigerators meant that the Knights Center now was able to increase the amount of dairy foods they receive and distribute, as well as reduce the waste of perishable foods.
Even more, Dairy Council of Arizona was able to extend this national partnership to the local level by partnering with the Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB), the agency that combines the four Feeding America food banks in Arizona, to provide refrigerators and refrigerator/freezer combo units to smaller agencies that had inadequate or non-existent refrigeration.
The refrigerators being installed in these agencies are wrapped with graphics that visually display some of the important people they help on a daily basis: children. The wrapping highlights child feeding programs so parents can learn more about school breakfast and lunch programs, and summer feeding programs. Information about the Great American Milk Drive is also included so people can go online and donate milk to those in need. The Healthy Food Bank website is also prominently displayed on the wrapping as a resource for both staff and clients of the food banks and food pantries to help find nutrition information, inexpensive nutritious recipes and other tools.
These brightly colored and informative refrigerators mean that these food pantries and other agencies can now receive, store and distribute more milk and other dairy foods to their clients – as well as share important resources with those who need them most. Getting nutritious milk to children and families who need it is just one way Arizona’s dairy farmers are helping to help fight hunger.
And you can join the fight against hunger this holiday season by donating much needed milk to a Feeding America food bank near you. Simply visit the Great American Milk Drive to help those in need in your community.