Guest post from Victor Zaborsky, Vice President of Marketing, MilkPEP

For many of us, a cozy winter’s night isn’t complete without fresh milk and cookies or a warm cup of hot cocoa made with milk. But hungry families right in your community may be missing out on milk’s much-needed nutrients – and all the holiday moments milk brings this time of year – when they don’t have regular access to it.

More than 46 million Americans – including 12 million children – are served by Feeding America member food banks each year. Milk is one of the most requested but least donated items at food banks – especially during the holidays when food banks can be even busier.

With 9 essential nutrients, including 8 grams of protein in every 8-ounce glass, milk is a simple way to help kids get nutrients they need to grow strong. Unfortunately, food banks are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year, on average.

To help in the fight against hunger, The Great American Milk Drive and Feeding America – alongside America’s dairy farmers and milk companies – make it easy for people to donate milk directly in their communities. The Great American Milk Drive has delivered more than 1.8 million gallons of milk – that’s more than 28 million servings – to food banks across the country since 2014.

This #GivingTuesday, you can join the fight against hunger to ensure kids and families have access to milk. Help The Great American Milk Drive reach 2 million gallons donated by passing the feeling of milk right in your community.

Here are three easy ways:

1. Donate real dairy milk online. Milk has always been a magical part of the holidays, spreading comfort, joy, and wellbeing. Besides tasting great in your cup of cocoa, milk is also the top food source of three of the nutrients most likely to be missing from kids’ diets – calcium, vitamin D and potassium – making it even more critical for kids and families who don’t have access to nutritious foods. Donate online via The Great American Milk Drive at milklife.com/give. A donation as little as $5 can help provide a gallon of milk to a family who needs it most.

2. Start a donation jar. Collect spare change from family and friends throughout the season, and purchase goods to donate to a local food bank. While canned and dry goods are important, perishable foods like milk and fresh produce are often needed, but harder to donate. Find your nearest food bank and check its immediate needs or any donation guidelines at FeedingAmerica.org.

3. Volunteer at a local food bank or food pantry. Food banks are even busier during the holidays – any amount of time you can give makes a big difference. Gather family and friends to visit a local pantry to help organize, serve or package food. It’s a great way to spend quality time together, all while helping others in your community. Visit FeedingAmerica.org and find a local Feeding America food bank near you.

To learn more about milk’s nutrition and the need for milk in food banks, visit milklife.com/give.