For many food pantries, milk is the most requested item. Thanks to a $35,000 grant from The Dairy Alliance to Mississippi Food Network, thousands of Mississippians struggling to purchase nutritious foods now have access to fresh milk.
“Mississippi’s dairy farmers are proud to partner with the Mississippi Food Network, ensuring nutrient-rich milk is accessible for all the families of our state,” said Pat Ard, a third-generation farmer from Lincoln County.
Mississippi Food Network obtained 30 refrigerated units and 25 thermal blankets with the grant to safely transport cold milk to various agencies for distribution within their service area. The Dairy Alliance awarded the grant through the Milk2MyPlate initiative.
“This grant will enable Mississippi Food Network, the only food bank in the state, to serve fresh milk across 56 counties,” Charles H. Beady, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Mississippi Food Network said. “This allows many families to have access to a nutrient-rich beverage on a regular basis.”
“On behalf of the dairy farm families of Mississippi and the Southeast, The Dairy Alliance is proud to partner with Feeding America to nourish central Mississippi’s families,” said Mary Martin Nordness, Director of Food and Nutrition Outreach for The Dairy Alliance. “Additionally, our hard-working dairy farmers are reaching a new market with their products. This small step will hopefully lead to more initiatives helping Mississippi dairy farmers.”
“Hungry families, particularly those with young children, often lack calcium-rich milk in their diet. This program helps us establish a consistent, sustainable flow of milk to those in need,” Beady said. “Since milk has been available, we’ve witnessed so much joy and excitement through a cold glass of milk. We appreciate The Dairy Alliance, Prairie Farms and our Mississippi dairy farmers for helping us imagine what’s possible through the Milk2MyPlate program.”
The Dairy Alliance launched Milk2MyPlate last year using the model created by Northern Illinois Food Bank and Prairie Farms Dairy Inc. in 2012. Meant to build an infrastructure for dairy products from dairy farms to local markets, the program develops relationships between processors and food banks to serve the Southeast’s food insecure families.