Thanksgiving week is here and many of us are planning our holiday feasts. Our grocery lists are growing and we are organizing our families for our holiday visits. We give thanks for all our blessings and we may even take for granted our ability to plan and prepare a holiday feast.
But in Indiana, we are experiencing a growing number of families that use food banks for their food source or to supplement their food supply. In Indiana over 1,023,000 people visit food banks. These families are not able to plan a big feast but they count their blessings just the same. One of the staple grocery items most of us have in our refrigerators is milk. But if you are getting your groceries at the local food pantry you probably do not have access to fresh milk. Canned vegetables and perishable groceries are usually donated to food banks.
The average person that relies on food banks receives 1 gallon of milk per year at the food bank but many of us don’t think to donate fresh milk and many pantries do not have refrigeration or the means to offer fresh milk to those they serve. Milk is one of the healthiest foods you can include in your diet. Milk has over 9 essential nutrients 8 grams of high-quality protein per serving and three of the top nutrients most likely to be missing in the American diet – calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
Recently Hendricks Regional Health took part in the Great American Milk Drive. We held our drive during National Healthcare Foodservice Week. Holding our drive during this week was important to our nutrition and dietetics department as we wanted to reach out and help our community with a connection to food. During a 5-day period we raised $790 dollars that was donated to the Great American Milk Drive. We offered the opportunity for our cafeteria customers to donate $5. Our goal for the week was $500 and we were so excited to not only exceed our goal but to go over 150% of our goal! This donation means our local food banks will receive 159 vouchers for milk.
How does the Great American Milk Drive work? Your $5 donation is routed to the food bank closest to your zip code. The food bank receives a $5 voucher for recipients to take to the local grocery to redeem for a gallon of milk. Since a gallon of milk won’t use the entire $5, the milk producers take the leftover amount on the voucher and add other donations to create another $5 voucher. Your $5 keeps getting recycled till it is used up!
My wish for you is that you will enjoy this Thanksgiving season, give thanks for your blessing and take time to go online and add your $5 (or more!) donation. A mom and dad struggling to feed their family will give thanks to you for your blessing.
The Great American Milk Drive is still going on and you can help donate. Visit this link to make your $5 donation.