When I told my parents during my freshman year of college that I was interested in learning more about nutrition and possibly making a career out of it, they were excited because “I would always have a job.” It is true that most people, even the aspiring nutritionists themselves, believe that their jobs will always revolve around helping people lose weight. Oftentimes, this is the case with clinical dietitians and private practice dietitians – they are teaching people how to maintain or lose weight and even counseling clients on how to eat less.
However, something completely different has hit the registered dietitian newsstand. This is the reality of hunger. Hunger; as in people not having access to enough food, right here in our own country, states, and towns. This might be the single mom, with four kids, working three jobs who is just trying to get dinner on the table. However, that is not always the case. Hunger can be anywhere; even in the two parents, two children families just trying to make ends meet, because food costs have increased, clothing costs have increased, and work is cutting pay. It could also be the senior citizen living next to you that put in 40+ years of hard work, but now cannot pay for groceries. In fact, hunger is a very real issue for 1 in 6 people in the United States.
So, what is happening to help this growing problem? Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief charity. Feeding America’s food bank network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. The mission of Feeding America is to feed America’s hungry through their nationwide network of 202 member food banks and engage the country in the fight to end hunger. The goal of helping the hungry should be on the radar of every American country and organization; which is why it is so remarkable to see a new initiative launched between Feeding America, the dairy industry, dairy farmers, and milk companies called The Great American Milk Drive.
Food banks from all over the country often hear from participants that milk is one of the most desired products; however, milk donations are often rare. Milk, with nine essential nutrients, is a nutritional bargain and should be readily available to anyone struggling with hunger. That is why the dairy industry has partnered with Feeding America to launch this national initiative to secure highly desirable gallons of nutrient-rich milk to millions of hungry families—made possible by the nation’s milk companies and dairy farmers.
It is easy to donate, just go to milklife.com/give. Please help fight the issue of hunger!
As a registered dietitian, fighting hunger in America is something that I never thought would become one of my job responsibilities. But, hunger is real and we ALL need to be doing what we can to help those families, seniors, and children who struggle every day.