The National Dairy Council, marketing and communications arm of the dairy checkoff, announced this week it will award a $10,000 grant to each of 10 food banks across the U.S. to support nutrition education and increased access to dairy products and other foods.
The NDC is partnering with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as Feeding America to provide the grants. Together, the groups form the "Future of Food" partnership, which works to ensure food availability and affordability.
Growing demand from food banks led the group to kick off the "Give Good With Dairy" campaign, starting in June, which will drive donations of milk, cheese and yogurt directly to food banks through retail partnerships, voucher programs and local events.
NDC Chairman Jerry Messer said the partnership provides special focus on low-fat and fat-free milk and dairy products, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
"Milk is among the top five items clients request from their food bank," said Maura Daly, Feeding America's chief communications and development officer. "Yet, of all the foods we distribute, only 5% are dairy products. Knowing that we have support from NDC and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, we can leverage the partnership's collective resources to help ensure that our food banks have a constant supply of milk and dairy products."
In addition to the grant program, the Future of Food partner organizations and the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association launched a virtual food drive with Washington D.C.-based Capital Area Food Bank to encourage members of the local community to make monetary donations to purchase nutrient-rich milk, cheese, and yogurt, along with fresh produce and other needed foods.