Michigan Milk Producers, Kroger recognize National Ag Day, donate additional 12,000 gallons of milk to Flint families

UDIM to provide transportation, education on dairy nutrition to those impacted by water crisis

FLINT, Mich.—The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), The Kroger Co. of Michigan and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) today delivered over 12,000 gallons of milk to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for distribution to families impacted by the Flint water crisis.

The action takes place on National Ag Day—a day to celebrate the abundance provided by U.S. agriculture—as the dairy farmers of MMPA share their product with those in need. The donation offers additional support to Flint families in continuation of a donation of milk by MMPA and Kroger completed in January.

“We are proud to make an additional contribution to the Flint community as it continues to recover from the water crisis. MMPA’s nearly 2,000 dairy farmers produce a wholesome, nutritious product able to protect those grappling with lead poisoning,” Ken Nobis, president of the MMPA said. “Our members were thrilled to hear how their cooperative was helping Flint with our donation in January and often asked how we could do more to help. I’m happy to announce today we are making an additional donation of 12,000 gallons of milk.”

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.

“Overall good nutrition is important to families who are impacted by the effects of lead contamination,” explained Jeff Dwyer, interim director of Michigan State University Extension, which is a member of the Pediatric Public Health Initiative. “Our health and nutrition team has been vigilant in demonstrating the need for good nutrition during this public health crisis. Making sure that nutritious foods, such as milk, are available to the residents of Flint is key to recovery. We are proud that our partners in agriculture, including MMPA, are helping in that recovery.”

The donated milk was produced by members of MMPA, a dairy farmer-owned cooperative based in Novi, Michigan. The Kroger Co. of Michigan led processing of the milk and packaging into gallon jugs.

The Kroger Co. of Michigan is pleased to be able to continue supporting the people of Flint with this donation of calcium-rich milk, and continues to work with our partners to raise funds and provide service to those impacted by this situation,” Ken McClure, Customer Communication Manager for the Kroger Co. of Michigan said.

Through the support of a grant from UDIM, 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.

“On behalf of Michigan dairy farm families, UDIM is proud to provide a grant to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to help defray the cost of transportation and distribution, while educating consumers on the role of milk as part of a healthy diet,” added Sharon Toth, CEO of UDIM.

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 4.5 billion pounds 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 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 the United Dairy Industry of Michigan:
The United Dairy Industry of Michigan is the umbrella organization for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council of Michigan. These non-profit organizations provide dairy product promotion and nutrition education service on behalf of funding members.

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.