California dairy redefines 'Milk Money' for state's food insecure

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June is Dairy Month, and this year California dairy farmers and fluid milk processors are joining together to help local communities by supporting the Great American Milk Drive in the No. 1 dairy state. On a national level, this campaign, in conjunction with Feeding America, provides gallons of nutrient-rich milk for millions of families across the nation to help remedy the startling statistics that plague America's families in need. Closer to home, the Great American Milk Drive will enable local food banks to provide critical nourishment via milk, a nutrition staple, to food insecure families throughout California – especially during the summer months when low-income children are out of school and unable to participate in school nutrition programs.

According to the Census Bureau, 1 in 4 Californians live in poverty[1], with over 6.2 million Californians experiencing food insecurity.[2] It's a common known fact that food banks regularly shy away from items that are perishable, like fluid milk. The California dairy industry is standing behind an important initiative that brings powerful protein to those who need it most, eliminating barriers at the food bank such as shelf-life or storage. Thanks to consumer and industry donations, food banks will be able to provide their clients with vouchers that allow them to go to their local grocery store and pick up the milk when they need it.

During the month of June, the California dairy industry will provide additional support by matching consumer donations in California dollar-for-dollar (up to $30,000). Dairy farmers, milk processors and nutrition professionals from around the state also will team up with local food banks for "Days of Service" in June to bring awareness to the issue of hunger and celebrate their partnership.

Participating is as simple as a click of the mouse. Consumers can donate a gallon of milk (or more) by going online to www.MilkLife.com/Give. By entering a zip code, the donation goes to a Feeding America food bank in the local community.

"As an industry we are very concerned with giving all consumers access to healthy, nutritious products like milk. The Great American Milk Drive is close to the hearts and the core values of our dairy farm families who are part of local communities throughout the state," said Jennifer Giambroni, Director of Communications, California Milk Advisory Board, on behalf of the three partnering organizations; California Milk Advisory Board, California Milk Processors Board and Dairy Council of California.  

For more information about the Great American Milk Drive and how you can participate, visit gotmilk.com. Help support this important initiative and get the word out using hashtag #gotmilkdrive.

About the California Milk Advisory Board

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is funded by the state's more than 1,500 dairy families. With headquarters in South San Francisco and Modesto, the CMAB is one of the largest commodity boards in the United States. The CMAB executes advertising, public relations, research and retail and foodservice promotional programs on behalf of California dairy products, including Real California Milk and Real California Cheese. For more information and to connect with the CMAB through social media, visit RealCaliforniaMilk.com, like at Facebook.com/RealCaliforniaMilk, view videos at YouTube.com/RealCaliforniaMilk, follow at Twitter.com/RealCalifMilk and Instagram.com/RealCalifMilk and pin at Pinterest.com/RealCalifMilk

About the CMPB

The California Milk Processor Board was established in 1993 to make milk more competitive and increase milk consumption in California. Awareness of got milk? is over 90% nationally and it is considered one of the most important and successful campaigns in history. Got milk? is a federally registered trademark that has been licensed by the national dairy boards since 1995. The CMPB's Spanish-language campaign began in 1994 using the tagline "Familia, Amor y Leche" (Family, Love and Milk). The TOMA LECHE (Drink Milk) campaign replaced it in 2006, following a growing trend in Hispanic food advertising that uses wit and humor to reach audiences. Got milk? gifts and recipes can be viewed at www.gotmilk.com and www.tomaleche.com. The CMPB is funded by all California milk processors and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

About Dairy Council of California

Dairy Council of California serves as the dairy industry's contribution to community health by providing a science-based nutrition education curriculum and resources that help children and families improve their eating habits and make nutrient-rich choices from all the food groups. For nearly a century, Dairy Council of California has partnered with schools, health professionals and community leaders to offer families simple steps for making balanced food choices while communicating the irreplaceable role that milk and milk products play in a balanced diet. Funded by California's dairy farmers and milk processors, Dairy Council of California's nutrition resources reach millions in California and throughout the United States. Find us at HealthyEating.org

About Feeding America

Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/07/california-highest-rate-of-poverty_n_4233292.html

[2] Feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx


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