PLYMOUTH, MI – As a giving community, people in hockey show hearts and spirit as big as the rink to assist those in need. On Sunday, February 21 at 2 pm USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP) and sponsors are supporting the 1st Annual Milk & Cereal Bowl Game at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, MI when the NTDP U17-Team brings in the Muskegon Lumberjacks.


Fans attending the game are urged to donate cereal and milk – necessary staples of nutrition for children.


NTDP and its corporate partners Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Kroger and Pepsi are asking fans to bring boxes of cereal to the game. Pepsi will match the donation and fans will receive an opportunity to win prizes.


In addition to donating cereal, fans are asked to purchase a toy cow for $3 for sale at the game.  The purchase of the toy cow represents one gallon of milk.  Kroger will match every purchase of the toy cow with a donation of a gallon of milk.


“Nutrient-rich milk is always in demand at Gleaner’s. With Kroger’s Michigan Dairy backing us, and our unwavering commitment against food insecurity, we appreciate USA Hockey for providing this opportunity for us to partner with the Milk & Cereal Bowl campaign.” said, Ken McClure, Communication Manager for the Kroger Co. of Michigan.


Fans can also assist in another type of donation – online.  Visit to purchase tickets for the game and click on the “GLEANERS” button.  $4 of every game ticket will be donated to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.


While Gleaners continues to do great work, they report a shortage of milk and cereal in gathering donations.


“Milk and cereal are two of the most important items for a food bank like Gleaners to have on hand,” said Gerry Brisson, president of Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.  “Unfortunately there is a shortage – we do not receive enough donations of either to keep up with the demand. To make sure children and families receive the milk and cereal they need, we have to go out and purchase them.


“That’s why we are in constant fundraising mode to make sure we have adequate supplies to keep up with the demand for these much needed, nutritious items.”


Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, especially for children.  Why?


“For kids, eating breakfast is associated with better performance and decreased behavior problems in schools,” said Melissa Gerharter, MS, RD, CSSD, and manager for Sports Nutrition Marketing for Milk Means More.  “After all, who can concentrate when your tummy is rumbling with hunger?  Also, kids who eat breakfast have a decreased incidence of obesity because they fuel the engine to kick up their metabolism.  And kids who do not eat a nutritious breakfast rarely make up for the missed nutrients a typical breakfast provides.”


Fans can get an early start with donations in the “Be a Youth Hockey Hero” initiative, presented by USA Hockey, Kroger, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Pepsi and Penn Station East Coast Subs.


Fans are asked to donate two boxes of cereal between Feb.14-20.  Drop off the donation at the USA Hockey Arena front office and fans receive a free Penn Station 6” sub coupon and a Team USA game voucher for any upcoming home game the rest of the regular season.  All cereal donations will be matched.


The goal of Milk & Cereal Bowl Game is to have a fun, unique way to assist in the battle against hunger – especially with children.


“This event gives us a chance to highlight what is needed in Food Banks: Milk,” said Gerharter.  “Milk is the number one food requested at food pantries and is rarely donated.  In a typical food drive, non-perishable foods are commonly donated such as cereal and boxed macaroni and cheese.  Without milk, these foods are not as nutritious nor are they enjoyed as intended.  It is not something donors think about but it is so obvious when reminded the food banks need milk to go with these popular items.”


KROGER GREAT SAVE INITIATIVE: While NTDP goaltenders Jake Oettinger, Joseph Woll, Dylan St. Cyr and Adam Scheel work hard every game to improve, their collective sweat equity is being rewarded by Kroger in the “Great Save Initiative.”


For every save made by Oettinger, Woll, St. Cyr and Scheel this season during an NTDP home game, Kroger will donate $5 per save to Gleaners.


Through all NTDP home games through January, NTDP goaltenders joined forces to make 718 saves for a total of $3590.


The Great Save Initiative runs through April 8.