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Michigan Dairy Farmers Donate Coolers to Area Food Pantries
Michigan Ag Connection - 03/14/2019

Greater Lansing food pantries can now provide more fresh milk to their clients thanks to the new milk cooler donated by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM). UDIM donated milk coolers to the Greater Lansing Food Bank (GLFB) last month, which distributed them to 10 of their partner agencies.

"We will now be able to give our community members a greater sense of autonomy to choose their dairy items," said Kelly Miller, development and major gifts manager at GLFB. "With these milk coolers, we have a dairy section of the food pantry that feels more like a grocery shopping experience for people who can easily pick out milk for their families."

Starting last fall and predicted to continue into this spring, there has been an influx of fresh milk from the United States Department of Agriculture to food banks across the country. However, food pantries historically haven't had the refrigerated space to store and distribute fresh milk. The newly donated milk coolers will allow the food pantries to accept and offer fresh milk to people who use their services.

Milk is the #1 requested item in food pantries, but is rarely donated. Milk provides nine essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin D and protein that our bodies need to work properly. An eight-ounce glass of milk is a good or excellent source of protein, calcium, vitamins A and D, vitamin B12, riboflavin (B2), niacin, phosphorus, and pantothenic acid.

"Michigan dairy farmers want people to enjoy milk at its best," said Sharon Toth, Executive Director of UDIM. "We partnered with GLFB to donate these milk coolers, so families could have access to fresh, cold and nutritious milk.

Now that the GLFB and more of its partner agencies have the means to accept more fresh milk donations, they will be partnering with UDIM on a program called the Milk Access Program. With this program, GLFB will fundraise specifically for fresh milk donations, which UDIM will then match.

Local food pantries that received the coolers include:

- Believers Christian Food Pantry, Grand Ledge

- Cristo Rey Community Center, Lansing

- Heart and Hands Food Pantry (First Baptist Church), Eaton Rapids

- Ithaca Food Pantry (Ithaca First Presbyterian Church), Ithaca

- Our Fathers Cupboard (Trinity UM Church), Owosso

- Potterville Food Pantry (Sycamore Creek Campus), Potterville

- Ray of Hope Food Pantry (Capitol City Church of God), Lansing

- Redeemer Food Pantry (Redeemer UM Church), DeWitt

- St. Mary Food Pantry (St Mary Catholic Church), Durand

- Trinity Christian Life Center Food Pantry, Harrison

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