With National Cookie Day on December 4, a lot of folks are probably asking themselves a very serious question: what’s my favorite cookie? Ask 10 people and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. Maybe it’s chocolate chip, the comfort food king. Or you might be into the cinnamon-y delight of a snickerdoodle, or the hearty warmth of an oatmeal raisin.
While there are many cookie choices, there’s really only one beverage that pairs best with cookies: milk.
But milk’s power goes well beyond just being a good drink to enjoy with your favorite cookie. It also nourishes kids and adults and is an important part of fighting hunger in our country.
And at Feeding America, there’s one person who knows that possibly better than anyone else: Sam Schwoeppe. She’s Feeding America’s regional dairy manager. She comes from a family of dairy farmers and has lived on the farm her entire life.
So, what does a normal day look like for her?
“Going out first thing in the morning to check on some of the young stock, then coming back inside to the office to answer emails for work,” she said.
Sam’s job is a lot more than answering emails, of course. She’s a bridge-builder. As the regional dairy manager, Sam helps grows relationships with farmers, food bankers and distributors to ultimately get more dairy into food banks across the country.
Sam’s passion for dairy and for fighting hunger began when she was young. As a kid, helping on her parent’s dairy farm, she understood the power of food.
“In addition to being dairy farmers, my parents were foster parents,” she said. “So, to open our home to other children was incredible. We all ate dinner together and when I came to understand that kids live in situations where that doesn’t happen because they don’t have enough food, it broke my heart.”
Lack of access to dairy is a reality for many families struggling with hunger. Because of cost, milk and other dairy products can often be impossible to afford for a family already on a tight budget. That’s why Feeding America helps ensure food banks can provide dairy items to their partners in the community.
“Milk is so important to staying healthy,” Sam said. “Without it, fighting hunger would be a lot harder.”
Building strong relationships with farmers is an incredibly important part of feeding people struggling with hunger. Read more about those innovative programs, including this farmer who donates surplus apples in his community.