GOT MILK?

For­mer Red­skins star cred­its dairy for healthy bones

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY JA­SON TIDD

For­mer Wash­ing­ton Red­skins run­ning back Brian Mitchell at­tributes his healthy bones to drink­ing milk — lots of it.

“As a young kid, two gal­lons of milk a week would be gone by my­self,” Mr. Mitchell said Thurs­day dur­ing an ap­pear­ance at the Ge­orge­town Safe­way gro­cery store. “I know it made me healthy and strong.”

Dur­ing the kick­off of the Great Amer­i­can Milk Drive, the for­mer Red­skin noted that the only bro­ken bone he ever suf­fered dur­ing his foot­ball ca­reer — which spanned from sixth grade to 14 years in the NFL — was a bro­ken kneecap dur­ing sev­enth-grade touch foot­ball.

Mr. Mitchell took part Thurs­day in the an­nual drive to pro­vide milk to lo­cal chil­dren and fam­i­lies in need — a joint char­ity ef­fort by Safe­way, the Cap­i­tal Area Food Bank, the Mary­land Food Bank, the Amer­i­can Dairy As­so­ci­a­tion and Feed­ing Amer­ica.

“Hunger is here. It’s right where we live,” said Molly McGlinchy, food re­source di­rec­tor at the Cap­i­tal Area Food Bank. “The food bank is reach­ing 540,000 peo­ple in our com­mu­nity — that’s 12 per­cent of the re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion — ev­ery year.”

Mr. Mitchell said help­ing those who are less for­tu­nate ben­e­fits the en­tire com­mu­nity.

“A lot of times when we do things, we don’t know where it’s go­ing to go,” he said. “This is right here in this com­mu­nity, it’ll help out all the lo­cal food banks, it’s go­ing to make the peo­ple in our com­mu­ni­ties stronger … If you make the weak­est per­son a lit­tle stronger, you make the whole com­mu­nity stronger.”

Chil­dren need milk to reach their full po­ten­tial, said Lau­rie Sav­age, a dairy farmer from Mont­gomery County.

“Milk can help power the po­ten­tial of kids, but only if they have ac­cess to it,” Mrs. Sav­age said. “Dairy farm­ers work hard ev­ery day to pro­duce nu­tri­tious, whole­some milk for our com­mu­ni­ties.”

Kim­berly Pur­cell, in­dus­try re­la­tions man­ager for the Milk Pro­ces­sor Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram, said the Great Amer­i­can Milk Drive pro­vides milk to Feed­ing Amer­ica, the na­tion’s largest net­work of food banks.

“Those who are re­ly­ing on food banks ac­tu­ally get less than one gal­lon a year per fam­ily,” she said.

Ms. McGlinchy said food banks need more milk.

“It’s rare that we get a do­na­tion of milk be­cause of the refrigeration is­sues, but fresh milk is a do­na­tion that we’re in­creas­ingly ask­ing for,” Ms. McGlinchy said.

Matt Boyd, a Safe­way re­gional man­ager, said the gro­cery store chain is donat­ing $500 and cus­tomers can do­nate through June 30.

“That’s what’s so great about this pro­gram,” Ms. Pur­cell said. “Shop­pers can eas­ily do­nate to lo­cal fam­i­lies and kids in need while they’re do­ing their very own gro­cery shop­ping.”

“Tell your friends about it so when they come in here [they] drop an ex­tra $5 on their [gro­cery] bill to make sure that we get the milk in the hands of the peo­ple in this com­mu­nity,” Mr. Mitchell said.

He said his par­ents ex­em­pli­fied com­mu­nity char­ity.

“As a kid, my house was the neigh­bor­hood house,” he said. “My dad was a chef and my mom cooked. We had seven kids in the fam­ily, but she cooked as if she was feed­ing a foot­ball team ev­ery day. She said some­one may stop by and need some­thing, and that’s the same way I think this whole [food bank] sit­u­a­tion is.”

Mr. Mitchell said his par­ents passed their lessons of char­ity on to him, which have helped him be a pro­po­nent of milk for the past six or seven years.

“I grew up with the mind­set of mak­ing sure peo­ple had the things that they needed to have,” he said. “When I started do­ing stuff with the Dairy Coun­cil, it came hand in hand.”

PHOTOGRAPHS BY JA­SON TIDD/THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

The Great Amer­i­can Milk Drive, a pro­gram that pro­vides milk to food banks, kicked off at the Ge­orge­town Safe­way gro­cery store on Thurs­day. For­mer Red­skins run­ning back Brian Mitchell (cen­ter) said that drink­ing a lot of milk made him “healthy and strong.”

“I grew up with the mind­set of mak­ing sure peo­ple had the things they needed to have,” said Brian Mitchell at the event.

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