Milk donation drive helps fill void in area food pantries

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Many East Tennesseans took part in Saturday’s Great American Milk Drive, making donations of milk to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.

It’s something Second Harvest Food Bank says they are in desperate need of right now, to help them feed the hungry of East Tennessee.

Second Harvest teamed up with Mayfield and Kroger Saturday for the effort, collecting milk donations from shoppers at the Kroger off Cedar Bluff.

The donations are crucial, as milk is one of the items the hunger-relief agency gets the most requests for from clients.

“It has nine essential nutrients in it, including a high source of protein and that is crucial for somebody that is suffering from hunger,” said Blaire Hall of Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.

They have a hard time filling that need because milk is rarely donated.

Many of the families they serve have to get by on the equivalent of about one gallon of milk a year.

“Milk is one of the biggest things that we’re needing. But it’s really hard for our food agencies to store it for extended periods of time because they don’t have the means to store it because they don’t have the refrigerated units,” Hall.

All the milk donated Saturday will be store at Second Harvest’s warehouse in refrigerated units.

The milk will be taken to one of their 500 partner food agencies across their 18 county service area.

“People in need are really needing this milk and it’s going to help them and it’s going to change them. It’s going to help children feel better. It’s packed with nutrients,” said Hall.

Second Harvest says they are encouraged by the turnout, as each gallon of donated milk represents another local family they are able to help feed.

“We’ve had some monetary donations which we are gladly accepting. We will go buy the milk at the end of the day to go put on the truck. Some people are buying multiple gallons at a time, which is awesome,” said Hall.

You can also donate by visiting the Great American Milk Drive website, or by texting MILK to 27722.

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