LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Publix has reached a milestone in its initiative to help bridge the gap between farmers who have a surplus of food to sell and food banks that are dealing with soaring demands during the coronavirus pandemic.
The supermarket chain launched the new initiative last month. The Lakeland-based company buys food and milk from farmers desperate to sell their products and then donates to Feeding America locations across the southeast.
In the first two weeks of the initiative, Publix says it has purchased and donated more than 1 million pounds of fruits and vegetables and more than 100,000 gallons of milk.
“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.”
The fruits, vegetables and milk are being purchased from produce farmers in Florida and dairies in the southeast. The food and milk goes to Feeding America food banks in all seven states that Publix operates.
According to Feeding America, an estimated 17 million additional people will experience food insecurity due to the coronavirus pandemic. That demand is putting stress on food banks that are working hard to keep up.
Feeding Tampa Bay has been reaching into its own funds to pay for food for those in need. They are accepting donations online to keep the food flowing.
If you or someone you know is in need of food, click here to find a mobile pantry near you.