Retail store milk drives yielded an impressive 174,659 gallons of milk for food banks this fall thanks to customers of grocery retailer SpartanNash (Family Fare, D&W and more) and Busch’s Fresh Markets. Plus, a spring milk drive at Busch’s Fresh Markets resulted in more than 46,000 gallons of donated milk. All told, shoppers stepped up to give more than 220,309 gallons of milk to families in need this year.
Food insecurity was a serious challenge before the COVID-19 pandemic and escalated during it. Dairy foods are among the most requested items by food bank clients. To help alleviate this concern and increase opportunities to provide needed nutrition, Michigan dairy farmers, through the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM), partnered with these supportive retailers to encourage customers to donate milk to help meet food bank dairy food needs.
“The generosity shown during this year’s milk drives is nothing short of incredible,” says Sharon Toth, UDIM CEO. “It’s through events like this we’ve been able to increase the amount of milk available to food bank clients, ensuring more Michigan families have access to the essential nutrition provided by dairy foods.
“Additionally,” Toth says, “the donations through these milk drives help grow incremental milk sales, which helps support local dairy farmers and their families.”
The events generated excitement among employees and customers at participating stores. UDIM recruits local high school sports teams to engage with customers around the milk drives. Not only are the teams rewarded with a chocolate milk grant but stores also typically see a dramatic increase in donations when students support them. Customers were asked to donate at the checkout, with all proceeds used to purchase milk for local food banks and food pantries.
As a result of the 2021 milk drives:
- SpartanNash and its customers raised almost $350,000 during its first-ever milk drive across 145 locations throughout the Midwest. That equals 127,465 gallons of milk donated. For every store that participated, the funds raised were allocated to the local pantry and/or food bank in their area.
- Shoppers donated 47,194 gallons of milk to Michigan food banks and pantries during Busch’s Fresh Market’s fall milk drive. The Michigan grocery chain also raised 45,600 gallons of milk during its spring milk drive earlier this year. That’s a total of 92,794 gallons of milk donated this year through Busch’s stores. This is the sixth year UDIM has partnered with Busch’s Fresh Markets on milk drives.
“Because of these milk drives, food bank clients received the essential vitamins and other nutrients available through dairy foods. And these efforts enabled dairy farmers to give back to the community where they live and work while helping to create life-long dairy consumers,” says Cortney Freeland, UDIM Director of Education and Community Partnerships. “You need milk for a complete meal. When people go to the grocery store, they will remember how milk helped them feed their family, ultimately creating more demand for dairy.”
UDIM is proud to be a part of these activities providing dairy foods to those who would otherwise likely go without. Michigan dairy farmers are also reminded of UDIM’s Food Pantry Grant Program to help local food pantries ensure they have dairy foods available for clients and refrigeration to keep dairy foods cold.
Learn more about UDIM at milkmeansmore.org.
Source: Milk Means More news release