Telligen Community Initiative (TCI) and Northern Illinois Food Bank announce a $49,725 grant to help fund the Milk 2 My Plate Program. This important project addresses the deficiency of Vitamin D and calcium in the diets of low-income adults and children by providing access to fresh 1% milk and fresh eggs, as well as much needed refrigeration equipment for pantry programs and food storage capacity needs.
Cost is a barrier that often keeps low-income households and food pantries from purchasing fresh milk, and donations have traditionally been hard to come by because milk is heavily regulated and has a short shelf life. To overcome these challenges, Northern Illinois Food Bank forged a partnership with a local dairy cooperative to provide participating pantries with a weekly supply of fresh milk. Established in 2012, the program now distributes 10,000 gallons of milk monthly, allowing neighbors in need to take home milk that is as fresh, or fresher, than what would be found in the store.
“Everyone, and especially children, need of the nutrients in milk to lead healthy, active and hopeful lives,” said Julie Yurko, President and CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank. “We are so grateful to Telligen Community Initiative for its substantial support of our Milk 2 My Plate Program, which will allow us to distribute more fresh milk to hungry neighbors throughout northern Illinois. We are also excited to add some new partners to the program who were able to purchase refrigeration equipment thanks to this grant.”
The Milk 2 My Plate Program was one of only 24 grants across Iowa and Illinois selected for funding by Telligen Community Initiative, a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, Illinoisans, and their communities.
“Access to fresh dairy products is an ongoing struggle for both food pantries and many families in Illinois,” said Matt McGarvey, Executive Director of Telligen Community Initiative. “As a result, many families go without these important sources of Vitamin D. The Milk 2 My Plate Program has proven successful in addressing this need, and we are pleased to support their efforts.”
Through its most recent grant cycle, TCI received more than 230 grant requests from various organizations seeking support for health-focused community projects. Telligen Community Initiative is proud to award a cumulative total of $1,121,758 to these 24 organizations to both build upon existing efforts and kick new projects off the ground.