Eighteen local food banks across Michigan have been awarded milk refrigeration units as part of a United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) pilot grant program.
The program provides local food pantries with a cooler to help store milk and dairy foods at proper temperatures. The one-time grants also provide funds for the food pantry to fill the cooler with milk at the time the cooler is delivered.
“Through our long-standing work with the food bank system we know that milk is regularly requested by those visiting food banks but due to its perishability, is not often provided,” said Sharon Toth, UDIM CEO. “Food pantries may not have the equipment to keep milk cold. This pilot program will provide food pantries with the coolers they need to get milk to more families in their community.”
In Michigan, one in six people and one in five children are food insecure. Food pantries play an essential role in helping to bridge the hunger gap, especially as families face the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As dairy farmers, we want to ensure our milk is available to everyone,” said Corby Werth, Alpena dairy farmer and UDIM President. “My family has used our UDIM Dairy Producer Grant to provide milk to our local food pantry. We have seen firsthand how important these pantries are to local communities and know the milk coolers will make a positive impact for the pantries and their clients.”
UDIM has awarded milk coolers to the following food pantries:
- Angels of Action, Big Rapids, Michigan
- Bad Axe Free Methodist Food Pantry, Bad Axe, Michigan
- Be Love Outreach, Grandville, Michigan
- Beacon of Hope Family Care Center, St. Johns, Michigan
- Cooperative Ministry, Lake City, Michigan
- Feed the Need – Alpena, Alpena, Michigan
- Holland Rescue Mission, Holland, Michigan
- Jehovah Jireh Ministries of West Michigan, Hudsonville, Michigan
- Lakeport Wesleyan Church Food Pantry, Lakeport, Michigan
- Love in The Name of Christ of West Mackinac County, Engadine, Michigan
- Love INC of Newaygo County, Grant, Michigan
- Martin Area Resource Center, Martin, Michigan
- Mid City Nutrition Program, Port Huron, Michigan
- Morenci Church of the Nazarene, Morenci, Michigan
- Portland Community Food Bank, Portland, Michigan
- Saint Paul’s Food for Families, Imlay City, Michigan
- Saline Area Social Service, Saline, Michigan
- Shared Blessings Food Pantry, Bad Axe, Michigan
In addition to the dairy cooler pilot program, UDIM works alongside Michigan’s seven Feeding America food banks throughout the year to help ensure their clients have access to dairy foods.
To learn more about UDIM programs and how they support Michigan’s dairy industry, visit milkmeansmore.org or call 517-349-8923.
Source: United Dairy Industry Michigan press release