Michigan Milk Producers, Kroger deliver 12,000 gallons of milk to help Flint families

Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to distribute calcium-rich milk to those impacted by water crisis

FLINT, Mich.—The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) and The Kroger Co. of Michigan, in conjunction with the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, today delivered 12,000 gallons of milk to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for distribution to families impacted by the Flint water crisis. Foods rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin C, including calcium-rich dairy products, can help protect children and families from the harmful effects of lead poisoning.

“This milk donation, on behalf of MMPA’s nearly 2,000 dairy farm families, is simply the right thing to do to help Flint families in a tragic situation,” said Ken Nobis, president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association. “I appreciate all those who came together to make this effort possible, especially The Kroger Co. of Michigan, and I’m proud of our dairy farm families who produced the milk here in Flint today. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to be sure that families in need have access to milk for their children, and this is clearly a time when milk can make a difference.”

“Today’s donation of nutrient-rich milk represents an important shift in the type of aid the affected residents need at this time, and moving forward as long-term monitoring and healthcare options are established,” said Ken McClure, Customer Communication Manager for the Kroger Co. of Michigan. “Kroger thanks our customers, associates, and partners for their generosity thus far, and encourages them to stay with us as we shift focus toward additional efforts to provide nutrient-rich foods, as well as funding.”

The donated milk was produced by members of MMPA, a dairy farmer-owned cooperative based in Novi, MI. The Kroger Co. of Michigan led processing of the milk and packaging into gallon jugs, and Quickway Carriers stepped up and provided the transportation of the milk to Flint. Nobis also recognized Dr. Jeff Dwyer, Interim Director, Michigan State University Extension for providing leadership and planning support for the milk donation project.

“We were blown away by the generosity of Michigan’s dairy farmers and Kroger,” Dwyer said. “All it took was a mention of the how calcium plays a key role in blocking lead absorption, and they were immediately on board with not only donating milk to Flint families, but looking for long-term, sustainable solutions to raising the level of nutritious options available there.”

The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan will distribute the milk to their network of partner agencies in the coming days, ensuring that it reaches families in need who are impacted by the Flint water crisis.

“Food Banks throughout Michigan have received long standing support from both the Michigan Milk Producers Association and the Kroger Co. of Michigan, said William E. Kerr, president of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. “With the crisis that Flint is facing today, this generous donation of milk will provide a much needed source of nutrition for our children and we are happy to get it into the hands of our partner agencies for distribution to local families.”

About The Kroger Co. of Michigan:

The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) is one of the world’s largest grocery retailers, with fiscal 2014 sales of $108.5 billion. The Kroger Co. Family of Stores spans many states with store formats that include grocery and multi-department stores, discount, convenience stores and jewelry stores. We operate under nearly two dozen banners, all of which share the same belief in building strong local ties and brand loyalty with our customers.

About Michigan Milk Producers Association:

Michigan Milk Producers Association, established in 1916, is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio. Each year, MMPA’s dairy farm families produce over half a billion gallons of milk for families in Michigan, the U.S. and the world. For more information about Michigan Milk Producers Association, visit our website or call 248-474-6672.

About the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan:

Serving local families in need since 1981, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan has grown to provide over 25 million pounds of food each year through more than 415 partner agencies in 22 counties. Partner agencies consist of local soup kitchens, homeless shelters and food pantries who strive to feed more than 300,000 people who struggle with hunger throughout eastern Michigan. For more information, visit www.fbem.org

About the Pediatric Public Health Initiative:

The Pediatric Public Health Initiative is a joint venture between Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital to address the Flint community’s population-wide lead exposure and help all Flint children grow up healthy and strong. The initiative brings together experts in pediatrics, child development, psychology, epidemiology, nutrition, toxicology, geography and education. Partners include MSU Extension, the Genesee County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Supported by the MSU College of Human Medicine Division of Public Health in downtown Flint, the initiative is led by Mona HannaAttisha MD, MPH, FAAP, Director, Pediatric Residency at Hurley Children’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at MSU College of Human Medicine. For more information, visit humanmedicine.msu.edu/PPHI.