Dairy is the one of the most requested items at food banks, yet is one of the least donated food items. Julie Yurko, CEO of the Northern Illinois Food Banks joins Lucas Lentsch to discuss how the Milk2MyPlate program provides milk and other dairy products available to families in need in the newest episode of Dairy on the Air, Midwest Dairy’s podcast for all things dairy.
The Milk2MyPlate program is a bid to purchase model that provides a consistent supply of milk to food bank. It was spearheaded by the Northern Illinois Food Bank, that distributed 5 million gallons of milk in the first two and half years. Staff were inspired after overhearing two gentlemen discuss pouring water over cereal when they did have milk.
“That just floored me,” says Yurko. “We know our neighbors want it [milk] and need it and we are working diligently everyday to get healthy groceries for our neighbors.”
Since then, the Milk2MyPlate program has expanded beyond the Northern Illinois Food Bank to 60 food pantries in the Feeding America network. This year alone, over 133,000 gallons of milk have been distributed thanks to the program.
Yurko and Lentsch also discuss:
- How Midwest Dairy supports the Milk 2MyPlate program through refrigeration grants to increase the availability of fresh dairy products
- The tough choices families in need are making everyday
- The impact of making dairy products available to children and families