American Dairy Association North East has received inquiries from farmers, local promotion groups and others wondering how to support local schools during the national milk carton shortage. A challenge is that every school operates differently and will handle the situation in the manner that works best for each (similar to how every farm develops best practices that work for their operations).

Offer Assistance to Schools

  • This approach may work best in a school you have a relationship with, for example, the school your children attend or where a family member is an employee.
  • Send your contact a brief email (suggested text below).
    • “Hi, I’m Name (if applicable, give context: XXX’s mom). We know schools are under tremendous pressure to continue serving milk to their students.  How can I help you do that?”
      • I’m available to help pour milk one day a week (insert preferred availability/frequency).
      • I’d like to work with our dairy promotion team/4-H Club, FFA (or other) to coordinate volunteers.
      • I have a lead on a place to obtain cup donations.
      • I’m willing to coordinate a cup donation drive.

Volunteer to Serve Milk

Like many workplaces, school cafeterias are often short-handed. Offer to help set up a schedule of volunteers to pour milk for students.

  • Ask if school clubs would be willing to sign up for shifts. Perhaps organize a friendly competition between groups to rally the most volunteers.
    • Sports teams – football team vs. basketball team
    • Choir vs. band students
  • Ask if student volunteers could get extra credit or if this could count towards service hours for graduation.

Collect Cup Donations

Before starting to solicit donations, check with your school to be sure they will be accepted and what guidelines they may have (certain sizes, packaging, delivery instructions, etc.).

  • Think about some of the vendors you work with. Sometimes it’s easier for companies to give products/supplies vs. money.
  • Ask your county fair committee if they would be willing to provide cups or a monetary donation.
  • Consider a community cup drive, where community members drop cups off in the school parking lot on a pre-determined date and time.

For more information, contact ADA North East Director of Consumer Confidence Beth Meyer at