Have you ever been faced with eating a bowl of cereal with water instead of milk? Food bank clients nationwide often face dilemmas like this. In fact, periodic surveys show that fresh dairy foods, particularly milk, are in high demand, but not readily available to the children and adults who depend on food banks, due to its perishability and lack of donations.
Recognizing this need, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank (CPFB) developed a program called “Fill a Glass with Hope” to help solve this challenge, which earned the food bank the Honorable Mention for Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships in the 2015-2016 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards.
CPFB’s efforts began in June 2014, when several dairy community partners joined the food bank in launching a fresh milk program that now provides 5,000 quarts – or 20,000 servings – of nutritious milk per week to families in need. CPFB purchases milk on a regular basis from dairy companies that deliver it right to the food bank and its agencies. According to Joe Arthur, CPFB’s executive director, the program surpassed a major milestone in 2015 when it reached its goal of delivering more than 1 million servings of milk to those in need.
Building on the success of the CPFB’s model program and a similar initiative at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the fresh milk program is expanding to all eight of the Feeding Pennsylvania food banks in 2016. This first-ever, statewide charitable milk program is expected to provide more than 2 million servings of milk this year.
It’s inspiring that more food insecure families in Pennsylvania will be able to eat their cereal with milk. If you know a food bank that wants to provide milk to their clients, get in touch with your local dairy council representative.
Click here for more information on the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards. Click here to learn more about the Great American Milk Drive.