Mickey McNeil's milk drive was getting underway on Sunday in Glace Bay. An annual tradition in the Cape Breton town, he says 2019’s milk drive is needed more than ever – following a less than successful food drive by the Glace Bay Food Bank.

“There are just too many that don't have enough milk to go around,” says McNeil. “The food bank is a big help to all these people, and they just finished their food drive and it wasn't as good as they thought it was going to be.”

McNeil, a full-time hockey rink operator and Zamboni driver, has become known to many in the community as a part-time milkman. 2019’s fundraiser is the sixth year for the milk drive, which began when McNeil learned about a local child using water instead of milk for cereal.

“It touches you. It does. There's no two ways that it can't affect you,” says McNeil.

Glace Bay Food Bank coordinator, Michelle Kalbhenn, says the milk drive can't come at a better time of year.

“Milk is one of the most important things you can have in your fridge,” says Kalbhenn. “It definitely comes at a good time of year, because right now I only have the one shelf of milk and I had to purchase that.”

Kalbhenn says the milk will allow the food bank to spend more money on Christmas orders. In 2018, the Glace Bay Food Bank put together over 300 food hampers for the month of December. She says that number is expected to nearly double in December.

“This is very appreciated,” says Kalbhenn. “Every year, he does it for us, and then they do a donation on top of it, so when I run out of milk I can buy some more.”

And some people have donated money instead of milk. Mickey McNeil is appreciative, saying he's received email transfers nationwide and notes he’ll deliver any donations dropped off at the rink to the food bank himself.

Meanwhile, the milk drive ends on November 4. McNeil is hoping to top last year's goal of over $3,000 worth of milk and monetary donations – and encourages everyone to give what they can to provide those in need with the staple food item.

“You would move heaven and earth if you knew your daughter or granddaughter was going without milk,” says McNeil. “So instead of buying that extra cup of coffee, buy a couple cans of milk.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore