Got milk? D-backs and Shamrock Farms make sure needy folks have plenty

PHOENIX – Food banks across Arizona struggle to keep milk on the shelves, with 95 percent of food banks surveyed by the Arizona Milk Producers saying they can’t meet demand.

To help, the Arizona Diamondbacks, in partnership with Shamrock Farms, held the second-annual Grand Slam Give Back milking contest Tuesday at Chase Field. The team has pledged to donate up to 96,000 servings of fresh milk to St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance during the MLB season.

Three Diamondbacks – Andrew Chafin, Nick Ahmed and Zack Godley – participated in this squeeze play. Chafin coaxed 6 ounces of milk from his cow, Godley got 5 ounces and Ahmed 4.

Not drinking milk deprives the body of nine essential nutrients, which help support the process of bone growth and mineralization, according to producers. Because milk is perishable, it isn’t often donated to food banks.

Jerry Brown, director of public relations for St. Mary’s Food Bank, said the milk donated this year will be stored in the group’s new freezer and cooler, which were expanded in a $4.5 million project.

“We want to take in more of this type of food. Milk is a very important component for food banks,” he said, adding that because of the scarcity, food banks limit distribution to about a gallon of milk a year per family.

Brown said the contest is a real win by raising awareness of the need for donated milk, especially in the summertime when most children are out of school.

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