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Not the ordinary food drive

A national food drive aims to bring milk into food banks.

Posted: Mar. 6, 2018 6:34 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Most food drives ask for canned goods, but not this one. 

The Great American Milk Drive brings milk into local food banks, which it says is the most requested but least available item in food banks. 

"When we do our food drives we can't collect perishable foods, so it makes it very difficult for things like milk," Linda Olson with Channel One Food bank in Rochester said. 

Channel One Food Bank in Rochester is one of the recipients of milk from the national drive thanks to Hy-Vee and Kemps milk. 

All Hy-Vee stores throughout its eight-state region are participating in the national effort, asking shoppers to donate $2-$4 towards milk. The milk is then delivered by Kemps to local food banks in Hy-Vee's region, like Channel One in Rochester. 

"There's such an ongoing need for milk, it's really difficult to keep in stock," Olson said. "Our clients are so thrilled when they're able to get the fresh milk. I think it's always a surprise when it shows up in the shelves."

According to Feeding America, people who rely on food banks only end up getting about one gallon of milk per year. But Olson said because of this unique drive, last year people at Channel One in Rochester were able to get about two gallons each, over the course of the year. 

"When we're able to provide it, they're very happy, very grateful," she said. 

The national drive lasts throughout the month of March. 

Olson said if people do still want to help provide milk after the drive ends, they can donate money to the food bank and specify it be used for milk. 

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