The Dairy Alliance CEO Doug Ackerman and Atlanta Community Food Bank CEO Kyle Waide are aiming to make a big impact on child nutrition with the Milk2MyPlate program.
The milk purchasing program is the first of its kind in Georgia to benefit food insecure families. Through this initiative, the Atlanta Community Food Bank will receive 60 gallons of fresh milk a week over the next year to distribute to families in need across its 29 county service area.
“Food banks are on the front lines of the battle against hunger in Georgia,” Waide said. “Our ability to secure a steady supply of fresh milk will enhance our efforts to provide more of the nutritious foods our neighbors need to live healthier lives.”
20% food insecure
According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap report, more than 1.5 million Georgians, including one in five children, experience food insecurity, which means they struggle to afford enough food at any point throughout the year. Food banks and the pantries they partner with are vital resources for these families.
“On behalf of the dairy farm families of Georgia and the Southeast, The Dairy Alliance is proud to partner in the implementation of the Milk2MyPlate program, helping to ensure that hungry families in Georgia have better access to nutrient-rich, wholesome milk,” The Dairy Alliance CEO Doug Ackerman said.
The 2014 Hunger Study, the most comprehensive survey of food pantry clients, found that 40 percent of respondents said they would like access to more dairy products in their local pantries. Due to lack of cold storage, providing milk through the food bank networks in Georgia has been an underlying issue.
Meeting the need
The Dairy Alliance answered the need with a $50,000 grant to purchase new refrigeration units for 17 food pantries. Funds will also be used for critical educational materials and tools related to the health benefits of dairy products, incorporating ideas on how these items can be incorporated into the daily lives of the individuals the food pantries serve.
“Georgia’s dairy farmers are proud to partner with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, ensuring nutrient-rich milk is accessible for all the families of Georgia,” said Heck Davis, a third-generation dairy farmer from Putnam County.
TheMilk2MyPlate program was created by Northern Illinois Food Bank and Prairie Farms Dairy Inc. in 2012. This model has created opportunities for food banks, processors and dairy farmers across to country to replicate and better serve their communities.