PHOENIX – As part of Dairy Forum, organized by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), a group of dairy manufacturers and food retailers teamed with the IDFA Foundation to donate more than 33,000 pounds of nutritious milk and dairy foods to St. Mary’s Food Bank to combat food insecurity in Arizona.

IDFA shared that Albertsons Companies Foundation and Schreiber Foods Inc. joined the IDFA Foundation in donating a combined $15,000 to the food bank, complementing contributions of milk, cheese and yogurt from The Kroger Company, Diversified Foods, Inc., and Lactalis USA.

St. Mary’s expects the monetary donation to provide more than 72,000 meals to families in Arizona.

“Working to make a difference for people and communities on behalf of US dairy, the IDFA Foundation is committed to reducing hunger in Arizona and wherever it exists,” said Matt Herrick, executive director of the IDFA Foundation. “We are proud to partner with St. Mary’s Food Bank — the nation’s first food bank and a leader in hunger relief — to support the greater Phoenix community.”

Per St. Mary’s, one in four Arizona children are among the 2 million people in the state who deal with food insecurity each year. The food bank’s president and chief executive officer, Milton Liu, said dairy items are “high on the list” of needs for food banks.

Christy Duncan Anderson, president and executive director of Albertsons Companies Foundation, noted that St. Mary’s also encourages families facing food insecurity with self-sufficiency, collaboration, advocacy and education.

“These actions align with our mission at Albertsons Companies Foundation, and we are proud to support St. Mary’s and give our Arizona neighbors access to the nutrition and resources they need to thrive,” Anderson said.

Sean Steichen, senior director of strategic initiatives for Diversified Foods, Inc., said the company donated its shelf stable Pantry Fresh dairy milk, which allows “consumers to have access to milk in a sustainable and innovative way.”

A 501(c)3 nonprofit, the IDFA Foundation aims to make important contributions to people and communities on behalf of the US dairy industry through grants and other avenues. The foundation said in the past 16 months it has partnered with several nonprofit hunger relief organizations to provide more than 422,000 meals to food insecure people.