Publix Buys Excess Produce, Milk from Florida Farmers to Donate to Food Banks During Pandemic

Volunteers help food bank clients in the pantry of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger food bank on July 24, 2013. Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The Publix supermarket company is offering a helping hand to its community in Lakeland, Florida, during the health crisis.

Wednesday, the company announced its initiative to buy over 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk from local farmers and donate them to Feeding America food banks in its first week, according to a press release.

The statement continued:

The initiative will support Florida produce farmers, southeastern dairy farmers and the growing number of families looking to Feeding America for fresh fruits, vegetables and milk during the coronavirus pandemic. Kicking off today, the initiative is expected to run for several weeks.

With numerous reports of farmers discarding produce and milk that isn’t being sold — mostly as a result of school, restaurant and hotel closures — Publix hopes to address the needs of both the farming community and its local partner food banks through this initiative.

“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,” the release said.

Wednesday on Twitter, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried thanked Publix for its generosity:

Also on Wednesday, Feeding South Florida President and CEO Paco Velez said the supermarket chain understood that right now, more families were turning to food banks for help.

“We’re grateful to Publix for not only supporting growers, but also for their years of support of Feeding South Florida,” he stated.

Thankfully, Floridians’ efforts to flatten the curve of the disease have been successful, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Tuesday, adding he wanted the anticipated reopening plan to lead the state in “resurging back to where we all want to be.”

Following Wednesday’s announcement, Pero Family Farms Food Co. CEO Peter F. Pero IV said farmers were humbled Publix wanted to buy from them.

“Thank you to Publix, the participating food banks and their volunteers for making this initiative possible for those less fortunate while supporting local farms,” he concluded.

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