Not Only Food, But Also Milk For Families
A boy named Tommy opened a lot of eyes with a simple wish, as Peggy Kirkpatrick, food bank director asked, "Tommy, if you could have anything in the world, what would it be?"
He wrinkled his face and answered, " I think I'd like to have milk every day."
And, Tommy's wish a decade ago has been granted by the gallon, over and over.
Veronica Kramer, of Columbia's Altrusa Club, has heard "some pretty heart-wrenching stories about children. A lot of them, that's the only time they get it."
The club has sponsored the fresh milk program through the Central Missouri Food Bank ever since.
"Without it, we wouldn't be able to function day-to-day," admitted Jim Tyler of Show Me Christian Youth Home.
Added Glen Robinson, program director for Intersection Youth, "We're non-for-profit, so we don't have food items in our budget. Just two of more than 30 youth programs. Imagine, children never drinking milk. It's a reality, right in our own backyard."
Continuing her story, Kirkpatrick recalled, "After the fourth time the milk was gulped down, ignored the food, just the milk, the volunteer said, 'Earl, why are you drinking so much milk?' He said 'because I have to.' she asked, 'Why?' He said, 'I don't get any milk at home, so I need to drink as much as I can.'"
Jefferson City's Central Dairy donates the milk at cost to the food bank.
"They were drinking powdered milk and they wouldn't drink it, and she'd tried everything she could to make it taste better," explained Altrusa's Peggy Covington.
"We put chocolate in it. The kids took one drink and said it was chocolate 'yucky.' So, we knew we had to get kids fresh milk and that's when Altrusa became our partner," said Kirkpatrick
The Central Missouri Food Bank has distributed 80,000 gallons since the fresh milk program began.
So far, Altrusa has contributed $45,000 to the milk money fund.