Supermarket chain Publix announced Wednesday that it launched an initiative that will purchase surplus produce and dairy from farmers affected by the coronavirus pandemic and donate it to Feeding America food banks.
In its first week, the Florida-based grocer plans to donate more than 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk to the food banks. The chain said the initiative is set to run for several weeks.
"Publix hopes to address the needs of both the farming community and its local partner food banks through this initiative," the company said in a statement.
"As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic," Publix CEO Todd Jones said. "In this time of uncertainty, we are grateful to be able to help Florida's produce farmers, southeastern dairies and families in our communities."
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Feeding America estimates that 17.1 million additional people will experience food insecurity because of school closures and rising unemployment during the pandemic.
"As we respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Publix understands that more families are turning to us to help put food, especially fresh produce and milk, on their tables," said Feeding South Florida President and CEO Paco Velez. "We're grateful to Publix for not only supporting growers, but also for their years of support of Feeding South Florida."