Milk is a precious item for food banks across Iowa, and last week the Food Bank of Iowa got a special donation: more than 750 gallons of milk. The donation was the first of several donations to the food bank as part of the Great American Milk Drive.

Over the next year, the Food Bank of Iowa will receive weekly deliveries of Dairy Pure milk. More than 39,000 gallons of milk will be donated over the course of a year.

Michelle Book, president and CEO of the Food Bank of Iowa, says milk is a rare donation but one that’s greatly needed.

“Milk is a rare gift for a food bank, and we are grateful. On average, a food pantry client receives just one gallon of milk per year,” Book said.

Hy-Vee stores spearheaded the campaign, asking customers during the point of sale if they’d like to donate a half gallon or a gallon of milk to their local food pantry. Last week’s donation was the culmination of those donations.

“One in nine Iowans is food insecure. One in six children doesn’t have enough to eat. We felt that being an Iowa grocer that we could make a difference,” said Jeff Mallory, store director of the Downtown Des Moines Hy-Vee store. The partnership made it happen, he said.

“Having the opportunity to partner with Hy-Vee and Food Bank of Iowa to deliver much-needed Dairy Pure milk to Iowans missing out on the essential needs and nutrition that white milk provides was a very easy decision for Dean Foods to make,” said Larry Augustine of Dean Foods, which distributes Dairy Pure milk.

The milk donation was logged into the food bank’s online inventory system and made available to the 500 partner agencies in 55 counties that Food Bank of Iowa serves, Book said.

“It will go into our online inventory system for our 500 partner agencies. They’re going to see that we have milk, and it’ll fly out the door,” she said.

For more information about Food Bank of Iowa, go to