Battle Creek and breakfast go together like, well, cereal and milk.
For decades, the Cereal City has hosted the Cereal Festival in June. The tradition continued on Saturday, although breakfast tables were replaced by cars.
Cheekily called “The World’s Longest Breakfast Drive-Thru,” Saturday’s event brought a free and nutritious activity to downtown – while keeping COVID-19 from spreading.
The Calhoun County Visitors Bureau was called in to help organize the event, which began with a collaboration between the Battle Creek Community Foundation, Milk Means More and Prairie Farms.
Prairie Farms Michigan processes dairy products here in Battle Creek. When they received a grant from the USDA to distribute milk, the South Michigan Food Bank agreed to add Corn Flakes to the package.
“It was a giveaway for cereal and milk, so it kind of mimicked what we do for the Cereal Festival,” said Linda Freybler, CEO for the CCVB. “The comments were really positive.”
Hundreds of cars came through as volunteers loaded up the free food. Each dairy box contained two gallons of milk, four bottles of strawberry and chocolate milk, sour cream, French onion dip, cottage cheese and cream cheese.
It took nearly 200 workers to make it happen, from processing the dairy products and packing it up to handing it out to families.
“We distributed nearly 20,000 dairy items, including 4,000 gallons of milk,” said Elly Stark, sales administer for Prairie Farms Michigan.
Many families shouted “thank you” and “God bless” from their cars to volunteers who were working in the hot weather, wearing masks and gloves.
More dairy events are planned for the future, as the grant has been extended through the summer.
“We look at it as a success. We want to do this at least once a month, in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek area,” Stark said.