A M.I.L.K. Moo-vement
A simple idea three years ago—that families who visit food banks need milk—has turned into a “moo-vement” and core part of the Gleaners Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan culture.
Each member of the Gleaners team plays an important role in getting milk through the network as part of their Making Investments in the Lives of Kids (M.I.L.K.) Movement. This program aims to provide kids with the nutritious food they need, starting with milk, to grow up healthy, happy and hopeful. It takes many hands, hearts, and undeniably devoted team members to make sure the families utilizing their services gets the important nutrition found in milk.
Here are some of their stories.
Stacey R – Operations Associate
Stacey has been with Gleaners for six years. He helps make sure milk gets to the cooler and appropriate pickup areas, as well as loads it into agency cars. He assists about 15 scheduled clients per day and says when they have milk it runs out quickly. Clients call to find out, “is there any milk?” You can tell by Stacey’s smile that he loves making sure clients have the nutrient-rich food they need.
Lawrence S – Operations Manager
Lawrence coordinates the drop-offs out of the Detroit warehouse, one of five warehouses Gleaners operates in their distribution area. He remembers a time when each June a cereal drive would take place, but there was no milk to go with it. What’s the point, he thought.
Debbie L – Operations Coordinator
Debbie has been with Gleaners since 2011 and is responsible for transportation. She manages all product coming into and out of Detroit. Every Monday, she coordinates the truck that picks up and delivers a truckload, or 22 pallets, of milk from the milk processing plant. Before it arrives at the Detroit warehouse, some of the milk on the truck is delivered to other warehouses. The milk then needs to be separated for distribution to the agencies serviced by the Detroit warehouse and via school mobiles.
Julie B – Chief Operations Officer
Julie is the internal champion of milk at Gleaners. Her support early in the program was key in its growth and success. Julie admits that it took time and patience to get where they are today. When the milk donation program started, Gleaners was ordering one truckload of milk per month. They are now up to three truckloads per month and looking for ways to expand to get more milk into their network.
Julie admits that it has been one step at a time. Each constraint that arises has to be knocked down with a creative solution. This is just the beginning of the milk movement and Gleaners has big dreams on the horizon to get more real milk to those who need it.