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Local food banks working to close the hunger gap with grants

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During September — which is also Hunger Action Month — The Dairy Alliance is helping local families of Tennessee and Georgia gain better access to milk. With $60,000 in grants, The Dairy Alliance is able to give access to real milk Middle Georgia Community Food Bank in Macon, Georgia, and Mid-South Food Bank in Memphis, Tennessee.

“Hungry families, particularly those with young children, often lack calcium-rich milk in their diet. Being able to purchase and store milk will help us establish a consistent, sustainable flow of milk to those in need,” Cathy Pope, President and CEO of Mid-South Food Bank said. “This allows many families to have access to a nutrient-rich beverage on a regular basis.”

Milk is one of the most requested, yet least available items in a food bank. Storage of milk is often an obstacle for food banks, preventing their ability to provide milk to the families they serve. Middle Georgia Community Food Bank and Mid-South Food Bank used the grant money to purchase refrigerators, increasing agencies’ capacity to store and provide milk for their clients across middle GeorgiaNorthern Mississippi, and Western Tennessee. 

According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap report, over 1.3 million Georgians and 950,000 Tennesseans, including one in six children, experience food insecurity, which means they struggle to afford enough food at any point throughout the year. Food banks, and the pantries with which they partner, are vital resources for these families.

“On behalf of the dairy farm families of Georgia, Tennessee and the Southeast, The Dairy Alliance is proud to partner with Feeding America to help nourish families across our region,” stated Geri Berdak, chief executive officer for The Dairy Alliance. “As a bonus, our hard-working dairy farm families will get a new market for their products. This is one small step that hopefully will lead to more initiatives to help our dairy farmers across the Southeast.”

The Milk2MyPlate Program was created by Northern Illinois Food Bank and Prairie Farms Dairy Inc. in 2012. This model has created opportunities for food banks, processors and dairy farmers across the country to replicate and better serve their communities.

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