Auburn, ME – Milk is one of the most requested items at food banks across the country, but food banks rarely have enough to go around, according to Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief charity. The 46.5 million food bank clients nationwide each receive less than one gallon of milk per year, on average.
Feeding America, MilkPEP, and National Dairy Council created the Milk2MyPlate program to help solve this problem. Feeding America food banks partner with their local milk processor to provide a constant supply of milk for hunger relief agencies. Good Shepherd Food Bank, the Maine Dairy and Nutrition Council and Dairy Promotion Board, and Oakhurst Dairy are bringing the Milk2MyPlate program to Maine.
“The Food Bank’s goal is to distribute the most nutritious food we can, so we’re excited about this new program,” said Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “The families who visit our partner agencies across the state regularly request milk. It’s a staple in most households and now it will be available to more families in need.”
To pilot the program, Good Shepherd Food Bank will purchase milk from Oakhurst at wholesale cost (at least the state minimum price) for 3 School Pantry sites. Oakhurst will deliver the milk to the schools – W.G. Mallet School in Farmington, Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore, and James B. Longley School in Lewiston. Through this pilot, the Food Bank expects to send milk home to 200 families in need each month.
Maine Dairy and Nutrition Council and Maine Dairy Promotion Board purchased cooler bags for transporting milk home and donated $4,000 toward the purchase of the milk.
“Milk and dairy products supply key essential nutrients to children’s diets. It is critical that children have access to the foods that supply the nine essential nutrients found in milk. The Maine Dairy Promotion Board and Maine Dairy and Nutrition Council are proud to help make available nutrient-dense milk for 200 economically-challenged families,” said Victor Bissell, chair of Maine Dairy Promotion Board and Theresa Hardy, chair of Maine Diary & Nutrition Council.
About Good Shepherd Food Bank
As the largest hunger relief organization in Maine, Good Shepherd Food Bank provides for Mainers facing hunger by distributing nutritious food to more than 400 partner agencies across the state, including food pantries, meal sites, schools, and senior programs. Together with its network, the Food Bank leads a statewide effort to combat the root causes of hunger by engaging in advocacy, nutrition education, and strategic partnerships. In 2015, the Food Bank distributed more than 19 million meals to families, children, and seniors in need throughout Maine. Website: www.feedingmaine.org; Phone: (207) 782-3554; Facebook: www.facebook.com/feedingmaine; Twitter: www.twitter.com/feedingmaine.
About Maine Dairy Promotion Board/Maine Dairy & Nutrition Council
The two diary checkoff organizations in Maine are affiliates of United Dairy Industry, Dairy Management Inc., and National Dairy Council. Their roles are to promote, educate, and encourage the consumption of nutritious diary products. They are funded by Maine dairy farmers and processors. Both organizations are nonprofit and were established in 1953 and 1948 respectively. For more information about the two organizations, visit www.drinkmainemilk.org.