One in five Californians currently struggle with food insecurity, with milk being one of the most requested but least donated items at food banks. In Fall 2023, the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) worked with student dairy advocates from California State University, Chico (Chico State), California State University, Fresno (Fresno State), California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), and Modesto Junior College (MJC) to hold the inaugural Real California Milk Intercollegiate Give-A-Gallon Challenge in support of #GivingGallons milk drives in their local communities.
Using 100-gallon donation commitments from the CMAB as an incentive, students in each area shared information about the need for milk and options for donating through their social media channels. Each team coordinated donations through local and campus milk drives, in person and virtually. As a part of the Real California Milk CADAIRY4GOOD program, this initiative is part of an ongoing commitment to increasing access to nutritious foods.
“I’m so happy to be a partner in this initiative. Dairy farmers care about our communities. Donating gallons of milk to local food banks has been a great way to give back to those in need and support the California dairy industry. The amount of excitement centered around this project has been inspiring,” said Anthony Agueda, California dairy farmer and Fresno State Dairy Science student.
MJC and Chico State also weighed in on the challenge. “We loved visiting food banks in our area to deliver milk, and to hear their stories. It was great to hear their why, and how food banks make such a difference in people’s lives who are less fortunate,” said Trinity Harter, MJC student and volunteer.
Chico State student and volunteer Aspen Hoyer noted, “Chico State Organic Dairy and Chico State Dairy Science and Industry Club were very excited to be involved in the first Intercollegiate Giva-A-Gallon Challenge. It was a great experience that brought many of our students together to help make a difference in our community.”
A total of 3,000 gallons were raised through this initiative. The donations will be distributed to the Salvation Army, the Boys and Girls Club, Second Harvest of the Greater Valley Foodbank, the Cal Poly Student Pantry and the Chico State Hungry Wildcat Pantry.
California is the nation’s leading milk producer, and makes more butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk than any other state. California is the second-largest producer of cheese and yogurt. California milk and dairy foods can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies they are made with milk from the state’s dairy families using some of the most sustainable farming practices in the world.
About Real California Milk/California Milk Advisory Board
The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is funded by the state’s dairy farm families who lead the nation in sustainable dairy farming practices. With a vision to nourish the world with the wholesome goodness of Real California Milk, the CMAB’s programs focus on increasing demand for California’s sustainable dairy products in the state, across the U.S. and around the world.