I owe a lot to a cow named Dolly.

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Don Schindler is the Senior Vice President of Digital Innovations at DMI. Don has been teaching farmers, staff and the dairy industry how to connect with consumers using social media and digital marketing for six years. He’s also responsible for new digital technologies at DMI. Before coming to DMI, Don directed the Communications team at the University of Notre Dame and taught classes at the Mendoza College of Business at ND. He grew up on beef and row crop farm in southeast Missouri.

What was your childhood diet growing up? Mine was Doritos, Dr. Pepper and a Dairy Cow named Dolly.

What were your favorite snacks growing up? Growing up in the ’70s, I loved Doritos (I can still consume a whole bag in one sitting) and Dr. Pepper (think Forrest Gump in White House).

Growing up in a trailer in rural Missouri, we didn’t have a lot of healthy food choices. Ramen noodles, Hamburger Helper, meatloaf, fish from the nearby pond, and some garden or previously canned vegetables were the staples in our household. My mom did her best to provide what she could on her small food budget. Don’t get me wrong, I rarely went hungry.

Food was purchased by bulk quantity, not nutrition quality.

But we did have one item that probably gave me the best nutrition of those early years.

We had a dairy cow named Dolly.

She fed five families every week. My dad and his brothers took turns milking her in the morning. Every afternoon, Grandpa and I would milk her around 3 p.m. She would give about five gallons a milking and that was enough to have fresh milk and other dairy products throughout the week. Fresh cream, butter, and, of course, milk. We pasteurized it on the stove.

The old barn was Dolly’s home. This picture was taken many years after she left in 1991.

Today, I buy many gallons a week to feed our family. I didn’t realize how good I had it growing up to have that dairy cow. The dads in our suburban Chicago neighborhood joke about how we should all go in and buy a cow. Not sure they understand the amount of work involved in keeping a dairy cow healthy and happy. Suburban Chicago probably isn’t going to work for a cow.
Now, I realize how crucial that milk was in my childhood diet. I believe it was the only reason I wasn’t malnourished considering what I normally ate every day.
That’s why it breaks my heart when I realize there are kids in this rich nation of ours who can’t afford to have milk and dairy as a staple in their homes. I believe dairy will help strengthen their bodies and fill their bellies so they can concentrate on their schoolwork, play longer and harder and grow up to pursue their own happiness.

But without a dairy cow, how will they get this nutritional powerhouse?

GiveaGallon.com is a great way that you and I can help get milk to these kids (more than 18 million are in need) especially during the summer when they don’t have access to milk like they do when they are in school.

Dairy farmers have teamed up with Feeding America through their checkoff and the Undeniably Dairy campaign to get milk into local food banks. Did you know that milk is one of the most requested items and is a top food source for calcium, vitamin D and potassium? These are most
likely to be missing in kids’ diets. Right now, food banks are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon per person per year.

I encourage you to visit http://www.giveagallon.com and donate if you are able to. I can’t imagine how my life would have turned out without Dolly. Now, you can give kids the nutrients they need without having to milk a cow yourself.

Please donate today and share your thoughts on donating milk with #givemilkmoney.”

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