LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix has purchased more than 1 million pounds of fruits and vegetables and more than 100,000 gallons of milk to help those in need.
The grocery store chain is donating the milk and produce to Feeding America member food banks. It's park of the supermarket's initiative to support farmers and feed those who are hungry during the coronavirus pandemic.
Launched on April 22, the initiative reached the million-pound mark in just two weeks. Publix has been buying the fruits, milk and veggies from Florida farmers and southeastern dairies to donate to food banks in the grocery chain's seven-state operating area.
“We’re proud of the success this initiative has had in supporting farmers and families affected by the pandemic,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said in a statement. “As a food retailer, feeding families is our greatest opportunity to give back, and we are grateful to be able to do so while supporting produce and dairy farmers. During such challenging times, we are even more committed to supporting those in need and doing good, together.”
An additional 17 million people are expected to experience food insecurity during the pandemic, Feeding America estimates. That's happening at the same time farmers are seeing decreased demand -- which has forced some to throw away excess produce and milk because schools and restaurants were shut down.
“There are some things you can’t plan for, and this is one of them,” 5 Brothers Produce Senior Sales Associate Thomas Torbert told Publix. “You just hope that you can find the right people to work with -- people who can come up with the right solutions to help you make it through. We found that right partner in Publix.”
In addition to the food donations, Publix Super Markets Charities has donated $2 million to help Feeding America food banks during the pandemic.
Since 2009, Publix has donated more than $2 billion worth of food to people in need. The grocery chain has pledged to donate another $2 billion over the next decade.
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