CHAMPAIGN — Milk is a luxury item for families being fed by food pantries, but 500 free gallons are on their way for the 14 counties served by the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.
Prairie Farms Dairy is set to make the donation to the Urbana food bank Wednesday as part of the Great American Milk Drive, part of 10,500 gallons the dairy is giving to 21 food banks in the Midwest overall.
The Eastern Illinois Foodbank's 500 gallons will be distributed among the families and pantries it serves throughout the area, said spokeswoman Julie Melton.
Some 33,000 children in the 14-county area lack access to nutritionally adequate food, and hunger conditions worsens in the summertime when school is out and kids don't have access to free and reduced-cost school meals.
Milk is one of the items most requested by foodbank clients, with nearly half of U.S. foodbanks receiving fewer than 24 gallons of donated milk a week, according to Feeding America, the national network of foodbanks.
"It's something that we very rarely receive donations of, because it's expensive," Melton said.