TAMPA (WFLA) – Publix has started a new initiative to help out farmers during the coronaivrus pandemic.

The grocery store chain says it will purchase fresh produce and milk to assist farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and donate the products to Feeding America member food banks.

Publix says it will purchase more than 150,000 pounds of produce, 43,500 gallons of milk during the first week of the initiative.

“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,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “In this time of uncertainty, we are grateful to be able to help Florida’s produce farmers, southeastern dairies and families in our communities.”

According to Feeding America, an estimated 17.1 million additional people will experience food insecurity due to school closures and rising unemployment during the pandemic.

Publix Super Markets Charities recently made donations totaling $2 million to support Feeding America member food banks during the pandemic.