“When you wake up tomorrow, I challenge you to pour water on your cereal instead of milk. Take a bite or two. If you discover this doesn’t feel okay, give me a call so we can do something about it together.”
These words by Craig Howell, director of community partnerships with Together Inc., in Omaha inspired action in a group of professors, staff, and students at the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2015. Craig’s phone began to ring, launching a five-year partnership called Pints to Gallons designed to help to ensure Omaha families in need had access to fresh milk in local food pantries.
Since the program’s launch, nearly $40,000 has been raised to purchase milk in the Omaha community, getting roughly 34,601 half gallons of milk into the hands and homes of local families in need. The Pints to Gallons campaign engages schools and the community to collect donations — large or small — in pint sized milk containers. The donations are given to a fund set up specifically for the Pints to Gallons program managed by Food Bank for the Heartland.
“Having access to milk is essential because bone mass development occurs during childhood, and calcium, an important mineral found in milk, is an essential component of bone development,” says Danielle Juritsch, community nutrition education specialist at Together. “Thank you for helping us to improve the health of our community.”
Pints to Gallons has plans to expand in 2020 to reach more communities in need across the region. To join, all you need is a little passion and a purpose, the food bank supplies the pints.