2018 Spring Newsletter - Ensuring Access to Dairy

Ensuring Access to Dairy is Critical to Elevating Health

Summer Meals

Summer Meals Program Helps Families Bridge Three-Month Nutritional Gap

Summer may be fun for children, but it’s a nutritional challenge for families who might have to stretch food dollars farther without the help of school cafeterias. Fortunately, help is just a text away, thanks to the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, which offers free meals like breakfast, lunch and snacks to children ages 1–18 while school is out. Dairy Council of California is one of several partners promoting use of the “No Kid Hungry” text number—877-877—that helps families find the nearest summer meals site. Use of the number jumped from 1,000 texts in 2015 to 40,000 in 2017. This summer, Dairy Council of CA will again work in local communities like Sacramento and San Bernardino counties where meal participation increased by 15 and 100 percent respectively, while also working statewide to raise awareness of the program among Spanish-speaking audiences.


Food Banks Offer Opportunity to Bring More Dairy to Those Who Need

With one in eight Californians, including two million children, struggling with food insecurity, Dairy Council of California is working with the California Association of Food Banks’ Farm to Family program, which aims to increase food banks’ supply of fresh produce and protein, including dairy foods. Dairy Council of CA was among several partners recognized last fall for helping double food donations to food-insecure Californians.


If you would like to make an in-kind donation to ensure more Californians have access to healthy dairy foods, contact the California Association of Food Banks at 510.350.9916.


School Milk Access and Consumption

Serving ice-cold milk in school lunchrooms can mean the difference between students consuming the beverage or rejecting it. Many schools have old, inefficient milk coolers or can’t afford coolers in the front of the lunchroom in addition to their large storage refrigerators. As a result, milk being displayed on the lunch counter, while still safe to drink, gets warm to the touch. Dairy Council of California and the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) recently joined forces to bring milk coolers to more than two dozen schools around the state. CMAB had the surplus coolers, and Dairy Council of CA had the relationship with schools to determine where the coolers could make the biggest difference. The partnership payoff: school cafeterias that are making milk a priority.

Smarter Lunchrooms Entice Students to Drink More Milk

Students throughout California are consuming more milk thanks to the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, which has been embraced by more than 500 schools around the state. Five years ago, Dairy Council of California helped launch the USDA-Cornell University program, which shows school foodservice directors how to creatively and strategically display foods to encourage students to make healthier choices, including milk. “We really wanted to boost our students’ consumption of white milk and vegetables, and we were thrilled when both significantly increased after we made those foods more prominent and attractively displayed,” says Barbara Lee, Director of Campus Catering for the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District.