Dairy hunger

Maryland dairy farmer Katie Dotterer-Pyle, left, and Laila Ali, former professional boxer and daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, in front of the Undeniably Dairy Real Love Convoy bus on Wednesday.

Dairy farmers, processors and industry organizations are joining forces with Feeding America to rally consumers to take action against hunger by supporting food banks.

The need is particularly acute in the summer when more than 18 million children lose access to school meals, organizer said.

The National Dairy Month effort is supported by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and its Undeniably Dairy campaign and the Milk Processors Education Program’s Milk, Love What’s Real campaign.

The message is being delivered through a cross-country summer tour of the Real Love Convoy to raise awareness and provide children with milk and dairy foods at venues including farmers' markets, sporting events and feeding sites.

The tour kicked off on Wednesday with a segment on the "Good Morning America" television show featuring campaign spokespersons Laila Ali, former professional boxer, and Katie Dotterer-Pyle, a Maryland dairy farmer.

In addition, the campaign invites the public to take action against hunger by donating milk at www.giveagallon.com.

“As farmers who produce quality milk and dairy foods for America, we believe that all families should have access to the nutritious foods they need,” Marilyn Hershey, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer and chairwoman of Dairy Management Inc. and Innovation Center board member, said in a press release.

Milk is one of the most requested items at food banks, Julia Kadison, MilkPEP CEO, said.

“One out of two kids in the U.S. don’t get critical nutrients in their diets that they need to grow strong, and their chances of missing out are even greater when they don’t have access to milk,” she said.

The campaign is part of the dairy industry’s ongoing efforts to address food and nutrition instability. Over the past five years, the industry has helped secure more than 31 million servings of milk to children and families in need through the Great American Milk Drive.

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