Childhood is a critical time for growth and development, and food insecurity can greatly impact a child’s health and well-being throughout his or her life. Thankfully, milk can play a role in the solution.
Some studies have shown that children who live with food insecurity are at greater risk of obesity. Food insecurity has been associated with hypertension and diabetes in adults. Food insecure families may struggle to provide their children with all of the nutrients they need for growth and development and milk is the number one food source of nine essential nutrients for American kids.
During the 2014/2015 school year, generous support from the Idaho Dairy Council and other donors helped The Idaho Foodbank organization include milk in our Backpack, School Pantry and Picnic in the Park programs:
- Our Backpack program, which provides weekend meals to hungry students, includes at least two servings of milk in each of the 63,000 packs we send home with students each year.
- Our School Pantry program collaborates with schools to place emergency food pantries in their building, giving families a place to pick up food that is familiar, discrete and convenient. Foods purchased for this program are specifically chosen to help families meet their nutrition needs, and milk is an important part of the food that provided approximately 125,000 meals to families.
- In addition, every summer we are one of the leading sponsors of the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program in parks throughout the Boise-metro area, serving meals to students who depend on free and reduced-price lunches during those months when school is out. Our Summer Food Service Program, or as we call it Picnic in the Park, uses milk to follow the USDA’s program guidelines in the nearly 45,000 meals The Idaho Foodbank served in the summer of 2015.
In partnering with donors and the Idaho Dairy Council, we have been able to include milk as part of our child nutrition programming in a manner which supports the health and development of young people throughout the state of Idaho. The Idaho Foodbank looks forward to our continued partnership in working to create a hunger-free Idaho! Help create awareness about food insecurity and help get nutritious milk to those in need through the Great American Milk Drive. We look forward to finding (or exploring) new and innovative ways to provide milk to Idaho children at the critical time for their growth and development.