Getting Food and Milk to Families in your Neighborhood this Holiday.

1 comment
December 23, 2015 |  by  |  Branded Content, My Stories

As part of my ongoing commitment through the month of December to help raise money on behalf of The Great American Milk Drive, I’ve been hosting my own Milk Drive through Crowdrise. It’s a safe, secure and easy-to-use portal that enables you to donate as much or little to the cause as you want, with the added ability to specify your zip code. This feature will aid in making sure that the ‘Dad or Alive’ donations go to your immediate community.

Over the past few weeks, aside from telling you guys about the important role that dairy farming played in my family’s life, I set out to hopefully inspire some of my readers to give something back this holiday, as well as educate my kids on a few things.

I wanted them to begin to understand the process by which food and milk (especially) makes its way to their table, beginning with the focus of my last post which highlighted our visit to Rocky Point Dairy & Creamery to meet with its’ owner, Chuck Fry.

They might be a bit young to fully understand everything involved in between milk leaving the dairy and showing up on the refrigerated section on our supermarket, but they certainly had fun learning about the milking process.

Charlie Milks Fake Cow

Udderly entertained.

I gave it one more shot last week, as I picked Ava up a little bit early from school and took the gang down to the Manna Food Pantry in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which serves as the hub for seven different distribution locations in and around my local community.

We were met at the front door by Jenna Umbriac, Director of Nutrition Programs and Stephanie Hubbard, Manna’s Director of Development.

Manna may only be one of 60,000 food pantries across the nation, but they collect and distribute over 4 million pounds of food each year, servicing over 11,000 families in my county.

Charlie and Dad in walkin at Manna

Taking a peek at the walk-in at the Manna Food Pantry.

Donations are made from a myriad of places, including private resident drop-offs, relationships with local grocery stores, food collection drives sponsored at schools and/or churches and certain things might actually be able to be purchased via county grants.

My kids may have been most interested with the forklift…

Ava and Charlie watch forklift operator at Manna

I think at first they thought it was a transformer.

…but I was more intrigued by how busy this warehouse and distribution center was in the middle of the afternoon. There were almost a dozen workers and volunteers handling incoming deliveries, sorting massive bins of food, making certain that perishables and produce were properly segregated and stored.

DOA family at Manna Food Pantry

Manna Food Pantry in Gaithersburg, MD distributes to 7 different location in my nearby community.

Jenna took me into their walk-in and on the way, she pointed out a recent donation of sweet potatoes from a local farmer.

Ava and Charlie with sweet potatoes

Local sweet potatoes donated by a farmer.

As we entered the walk-in, we saw a fair amount of greens and in the corner, I FINALLY noticed some milk.

Milk sits in walk-in at Manna

These were the only fresh milk donations available to families during our visit.

Manna has a small amount of shelf-stable milk, but the fresh stuff is EXTREMELY hard to come by. They make their best effort to be fair to everyone, but let’s be honest, it’s a near impossible task to break down a gallon of milk for distribution. There are a few lucky families that will occasionally see a fresh half-gallon or gallon, but it’s a rarity.

Milk is among the top requested items all year, but especially during the holidays.

Line of smart sacks at Manna

Volunteers in the process of putting together boxes to distribute to families.

It astonishes me that on average, food bank clients receive the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year, leaving these families without milk’s essential nutrients.

To date, more than 10 million servings of milk have been delivered to Feeding America food banks across the country through The Great American Milk Drive.

All that I’m asking, is that you take LITERALLY ONE minute and consider ditching tomorrow’s latte and instead, clicking HERE, to contribute anything that you can spare. $5 would give a family in your own community the opportunity to get a gallon of milk this Christmas.

My family and I are wishing you all the best this holiday season and I hope I’ve helped you see just a glimpse of how important your donations can be, I know that we certainly have.

Merry Christmas from Dad or Alive!