In an effort dubbed CARE (Compassionate Assistance Reaches Everyone), the Iowa Division of Midwest Dairy Association, on behalf of dairy farmers and processors, is donating $65,000 to the state's six food banks. Recognizing the critical need for nutrient-rich food donations, the money will provide dairy products to those seeking community assistance.
Midwest Dairy Association will also provide ongoing educational materials to food banks for their clients, highlighting the nutritional benefits of consuming three servings of milk, cheese and yogurt per day. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, each day more than one out of 10 Iowans go without the food they need to be healthy.
Iowa's six food banks - Food Bank of Iowa, Food Bank of Southern Iowa, HACAP, Nebraska Food Bank, Northeast Iowa Food Bank and Riverbend Food Bank, which serve the state's 99 counties - will purchase dairy products from Iowa dairy processors as needed over the next 12 months with the money donated by Midwest Dairy Association. Participating dairy processor partners include: Anderson-Erickson, Associated Milk Producers, Inc., Dean Foods/Land O'Lakes Milk, Foremost Farms, Roberts Dairy and Swiss Valley Farms.
"During these tough economic times, Iowa dairy farmers are embracing family and community now more than ever and thinking about how we can help others," said Joe Lyon, a dairy farmer from Tama and president of the Iowa Division of Midwest Dairy Association. "We worked with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, Iowa dairy farmers and processors to make this donation possible so those in need have access to a variety of nutrient-rich dairy products."
"With nine essential nutrients, milk and dairy foods are one of the most wholesome and economical sources of nutrition," said Nicole Stahr, a registered dietitian with the Midwest Dairy Council. "The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend children and adults get at least three servings of dairy each day for strong bones and teeth and overall good health."
Midwest Dairy Association will kick off the state-wide donation and recognize the contribution of Iowa's dairy farmers and processors at 10 a.m., Wed. May 13, at the Food Bank of Iowa, 2220 E. 17th Street, Des Moines. Dairy education materials and dairy product samples will be available to attendees. Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, will attend as the event's special guest.
"At times it can be difficult to supply the many non-profit agencies we serve with dairy products," said Carey Miller, executive director of the Food Bank of Iowa. "It is a welcome surprise and very satisfying to know we'll have more opportunities to provide Iowans with local, nutritious dairy products and the education materials to encourage healthy habits."
~Courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association