By Sean Ellis
Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
MERIDIAN – On World Milk Day June 1, Dairy West launched a two-week “Moo Bucks” campaign that aims to provide needy families with milk and other dairy products.
Dairy West is a non-profit organization that promotes and markets the Idaho and Utah dairy industries and represents the states’ dairy operators.
The organization is partnering with Albertsons and the Idaho Foodbank for its “Moo Bucks” campaign.
From June 1-14, people can donate “Moo Bucks” at Albertsons checkout stands throughout southern and eastern Idaho. The donations benefit the Idaho Foodbank, which will use them to purchase and distribute dairy foods to needy families and give them vouchers to redeem for milk.
The campaign was kicked off June 1 at an Albertson’s grocery store in Meridian during an event called “Hullaba-Moo.” During that event, Dairy West, Girl Scouts of Silver Sage and Albertsons presented a $6,000 check to the Idaho Foodbank.
Throughout the day, according to a Dairy West news release, customers took selfies with Idaho dairy farmers and “Josie,” a Jersey calf. The event also featured games, prizes, dairy focused classes and free sampling of Idaho dairy products.
Dairy West CEO Karianne Fallow said the Moo Bucks campaign provides an easy way for people to make a big difference in the lives of Idaho families that struggle to get enough nourishment.
“There’s a huge milk gap in our country,” Fallow said in the news release. “Feeding America reports that on average, people served by food banks receive the equivalent of less than 1 gallon per person per year.”
According to Feeding America, she added, one in seven Americans relies on food banks for nutritional assistance and in Idaho, more than 200,000 people do.
While it’s easy for people to donate canned and dry goods, Fallow said, fresh milk is much harder to donate because it’s perishable. So, while food pantries report milk is one of the most requested items, it’s difficult for them to meet the demand.
“Milk is a unique and great choice for individuals struggling with hunger,” she said. “It’s a nutritional powerhouse, provides eight grams of protein and nine essential nutrients, including three of the top nutrients commonly missing in the American diet.”
The Moo Bucks campaign is the latest in a series of fundraisers and activities that Idaho’s dairy industry, through Dairy West, has undertaken to help Idahoans who are “food insecure” and don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
Those campaigns have provided tens of thousands of gallons of milk to Idaho food pantries and raised a substantial amount of money that is given to food pantries to purchase dairy products.