Usually, September is a month we anticipate with optimism. The summer heat transforms into cooler days and families feel rejuvenated for the new school year routine, drawing closer together to enjoy what fall has to offer such as watching football, harvest celebrations and delicious seasonal food to share.
September 2020 will look so much different than years past (thanks to COVID-19) as families are confronted with new challenges like remote school and work. Upcoming holidays are in limbo and Americans are called on to pivot their routines and anticipate a lot of unknowns. 2020 feels like watching a favorite scoop of ice cream fall off your cone as you stare at it with longing and disappointment.
Enough of the “sad.” Let’s turn discontent into hope by helping the growing number of people who need food. September is Hunger Action Month and the need is higher than ever before. In 2018, Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization reported that 1 in 9 Americans are at risk of hunger including nearly 12.5 million children. That number is expected to climb to 18 million because of the pandemic.
With the growing and immediate number of people who rely on food banks and food assistance programs, it’s more important that the foods available to them have the nutritional value to truly provide sustenance to endure. Milk is naturally nutrient-rich with 9 essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality protein per 8-ounce serving and three of the top nutrients most likely to be missing in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
Milk is one of the most requested, yet least donated items, meaning children in need may be missing out on the essential nutrients milk provides. In fact, on average each Feeding America food bank participant receives less than one gallon of milk per person per year. That’s far short of the recommended three daily servings of milk, cheese or yogurt.
Over 3 years ago, on behalf of America’s dairy farm families, National Dairy Council partnered with Feeding America to launch The Great American Milk Drive – an online initiative converting monetary donations into nutritious milk for hungry families. Their commitment to sustainability and feeding families continues and is stronger than ever. Through the pandemic, dairy farm families, businesses and non-profit partners in the Dairy MAX region have coordinated delivery of over 350,000 gallons of milk to individuals and families who need it.
The coronavirus pandemic has showed us that hunger is often situational and unexpected, but one thing is certain – milk is essential. Join us and donate with a purpose. Visit milklife.com/give to learn more about the Great American Milk Drive and the reasons why we are taking action this September to ensure that families and children can thrive despite the pandemic.