LAKELAND, Fla. — When farmers were forced to dump and spoil tons of dairy and produce around the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Publix says it took note.
Since April, the grocery chain purchased the excess supply and has been donating it to food banks across the Southeast, it said in a news release. That comes out to a little more than 11 million pounds of produce and 500,000 gallons of milk.
"Millions of Americans aren’t sure where they will get their next meal, and as a food retailer, we can make a difference,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said in the release. “It’s been our privilege at Publix to help people in need for many years, most recently with our new program supporting farmers, food banks and families hit particularly hard by the pandemic."
Publix and its outreach arm, Publix Super Markets Charities, say they are working together in an effort to keep food on families' tables and help Feeding America member food banks get the funding they need. Publix Charities so far in 2020 has donated $5 million toward those efforts, the news release states.
Not long after the pandemic began and people started to lose their jobs, long lines at food banks across the country garnered national headlines. Publix says there has been, in some cases, a 300- to 400-percent increase in need.
“Food banks across the country have been working tirelessly to meet increased demand, but we cannot do it alone,” Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, said in the release.
Visit FeedingAmerica.org to find a food bank in your area or to learn how to donate.
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