Dietitians Help Fight Hunger

Dairy Council forms partnership to fight hunger


Capital Press

The National Dairy Council has teamed up with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Feeding America to help fight hunger and promote healthy eating for the nation’s 49 million food-insecure citizens.

The three organizations will work together to develop and implement a broad-reaching plan to raise awareness of the issue of nutrition and food insecurity, said Jean Ragalie, registered dietitian and president of National Dairy Council.

The effort will also focus on increasing access to healthy foods — including nutrient-rich dairy — for those in need and educate thought leaders and consumers about efforts that will help eliminate hunger and promote healthy food choices, she said.

“This partnership represents the latest example about how today’s dairy checkoff program works to protect and promote dairy sales by working with and through others … through partnerships,” she said.

The partnership is unique to Feeding America, said Ross Fraser, the organization’s director of media relations.

With more people reliant on foodbanks, Feeding America has struggled with the issue of not just supplying food but nutritious food that will contribute to clients’ health, he said.

Each organization will share expertise and resources, identify new ways of approaching nutrition and access to healthy foods, and work to help food-insecure people nourish themselves and their families.

The National Dairy Council is contributing $1.8 million to the project over a two-year period, with $1.5 million to Feeding America and $300,000 to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Feeding America will work to highlight food insecurity as a public health issue and identify strategies and secure resources to increase the availability and access of healthy foods at the nation’s food banks, Ragalie said.

Some of the funding will be used to purchase fresh food, but the money will also be used to expand storage capacity, such as refrigerators, freezers and refrigerated trucks, Fraser said.

The Academy will foster efforts for the dairy industry and registered dietitians to work together in local communities and bring resources, programs and expertise to families.

Feeding America and the Academy will devote staff time and other resources to the effort, Ragalie said.

The groups will raise awareness though already established relationship within local communities through schools, dieticians and food pantries, she said.

Each organization brings unique strengths to the effort, she added.

National Dairy Council brings a legacy in nutrition research and education. Through the Council, leading food manufacturers, marketers and farmers can help develop and implement action plans that lead to sustained change relative to food insecurity.

The Academy boasts a nationwide network of 73,000 registered dietitians who are experts in educating the public about food and nutrition.

Feeding America is the nation’s largest hunger relief organization that works on the front lines every day to provide access to meals for more than 75 percent (37 million) of the nation’s food insecure. Its network of more than 200 member food banks serves all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico with more than 3 billion pounds of food and grocery products annually.

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