Sorry for two “advocacy” posts in a row but tis the time of year when there are a lot of ways to give back. And I love having a platform to share those ideas with you! One topic I will always, ALWAYS be passionate about is childhood hunger. I won’t shut up until we don’t have hungry children anymore, especially in our own communities.
Today my son looked in our fridge and complained it was so full he couldn’t find things in it. Stop for a minute and realize this could probably be a lot of our kids. They don’t even grasp that there are kids with fridges void of any nutritious food. I can berate myself for raising a cluelss child or I can be overwhelmingly grateful that it is just too hard for my 5 year old to possibly understand that kids wouldn’t have food at the ready when their bellies were hungry.
Milk is a staple for many of our children’s diets and brings back fond memories of my own childhood. Whether it was poured over my morning cereal, downed with a sticky PB and J or preceded by one of my mom’s warm chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven, milk seems like a given when it comes to our childhood. And it is such an important part of kid’s diets, providing calcium, potassium, Vitamin D, and is a good source of high quality protein.
But there are a lot of children growing up on sugary sodas and juices instead of milk. Recently I learned that Michigan residents who depend on local food banks for their meals receive an average of just one gallon of milk per person per year. One gallon A YEAR!! The average kid gets around 28 gallons a year.
I am so excited that for the second year in a row, The United Dairy Industry of Michigan(UDIM) has partnered with The Kroger Co. of Michigan to help relieve this shortage with Pour It Forward. Through Dec. 16th, Kroger customers are invited to purchase paper gallon slips for $3 each. Kroger and UDIM will contribute a minimum of one gallon of milk to local food banks for every paper gallon purchased.
Last year Pour It Forward raised over 30,000 gallons of milk for Forgotten Harvest and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. This year they want to do even better so they have set an ambitious goal of 50,000 gallons benefitting six mid-Michigan food banks in 2014, including Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Food Bank of South Central Michigan, Food Gatherers, Forgotten Harvest, Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, and Greater Lansing Food Bank. Even if you aren’t local to Michigan, you should know that the Pour It Forward campaign is part of the Great American Milk Drive, the first national program to help deliver nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families.
I know this time of year a lot of us are looking for ways to give back. And I love that my kids are likely with me at the grocery store when I am donating so we can continue our dialogue about gratitude and the realities of lots of kids who don’t have the resources they have. I love that Kroger and UDIM are providing me with a way to easily make a difference! So head out and Pour It Forward!!