Increasing Access to Fresh Milk


Milk is a key source of protein for children. It is one of the most requested items, yet least donated. In fact, the average food bank has access to less than one gallon of milk per person served, per year.

For many struggling families, milk is a luxury that they simply cannot afford to buy.

Looking for ways to increase our distribution of milk to families in need, Gleaners formed a partnership with United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM).

As part of the effort, Gleaners has asked volunteers and organizations to donate specifically to purchase milk. Volunteers in our distribution centers can make a $10 donation and get a stress ball cow in return. The cows have turned out to be incredibly popular, even showing up on social media. Our online donors aren't left out. They get an origami cow as a thank you.

UDIM generously has been matching these donations so that every dollar raised goes twice as far. For each truckload of milk Gleaners purchases, UDIM donates another truck!


Our partnership has resulted in a substantial increase in our ability to provide fresh milk for our families. In 2014, Gleaners distributed 4,190 gallons of milk, but last year, after the partnership began, Gleaners distributed over 61,000 gallons of milk.

The response from the families receiving the milk has been heartwarming. Says one milk recipient, “My son is always so happy when I bring milk home so he can have milk on his cereal. Sometimes he has to eat his cereal without milk because we cannot always afford to buy it.”

If you’d like to help by providing more milk and having your donation matched, visit Together, we can ensure southeast Michigan’s children and families have the milk they need to thrive.