Dairy MAX and Rouses Markets Forge Partnership to Address Food Insecurity Among University Students in Louisiana

May 15, 2024
Dairy MAX Rouses Partnership

Dairy MAX has partnered with Rouses Markets to make nutritious dairy foods and beverages readily available on college campuses in an effort to address student food insecurity and provide nutrition support to student-athletes. This collaboration focuses on improving access to dairy foods for students, faculty and staff at select Louisiana university food pantries while enhancing the reach and impact of dairy farmers’ contributions towards food security efforts.

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Education, reveals that a significant portion of undergraduate students nationwide experience food insecurity. In response, Dairy MAX and Rouses Markets have dedicated efforts to alleviate this issue within the Louisiana academic community by increasing the availability of milk, cheese and yogurt—essential foods for a balanced and nutritious diet.

“Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt are some of the most requested, yet least available foods in food pantries,” stated Michelle Van Pelt, Dairy MAX business development manager. “Most dairy products expire quickly, and they must also be refrigerated, making them difficult items to donate, stock and distribute. Placing a cooler ensures they have the needed refrigeration space to keep dairy foods in stock more consistently.”  

This partnership has led to the placement of four 69-gallon coolers in universities across Louisiana, including Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles and Southern University in Baton Rouge. The coolers are stocked with a year’s supply of milk and dairy foods courtesy of Rouses Supermarkets, ensuring ongoing access to these vital foods.  

“We have launched initiatives and partnerships to make nutritious food more accessible to those in need and were looking for something truly impactful to help fight food insecurity on campus, which is a growing problem,” said Donny Rouse, chief executive officer of Rouses Markets. “It is estimated that 40 percent of college students are food insecure, which can impact their academic performance, and even their ability to stay in school.”   

To further enhance athlete nutrition and recovery, a second cooler has been installed and filled with chocolate milk in the Nicholls State athletic department courtesy of Rouses and Dairy MAX’s BUILT w/ Chocolate Milk program. Research has shown that chocolate milk offers significant advantages over traditional sports drinks and contains the ideal carbs-to-protein ratio for post-workout recovery.  

This partnership highlights Dairy MAX’s ongoing mission to support nutrition and food security across its eight-state region and demonstrates how leveraging relationships can amplify the impact of dairy farmers’ contributions to their communities.