Publix Buying From Farmers to Feed Hungry
Publix Super Markets has rolled out a new initiative to purchase fresh produce and milk to help farmers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The grocer will donate the products directly to Feeding America member food banks in its seven-state operating area.
Having launched April 22, the initiative will run for several weeks.
“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,” noted 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 more people will experience food insecurity because of school closures and higher unemployment amid 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 Paco Velez, president and CEO of Pembroke Park-based Feeding South Florida. “We’re grateful to Publix for not only supporting growers, but also for their years of support of Feeding South Florida.”
There have been numerous media reports of farmers having to discard produce and milk that isn’t being sold, mostly as a result of school, restaurant and hotel closures.
“In addition to providing much needed produce and milk to food banks, this initiative provides financial support to farmers during this challenging time,” added Jones. “We’re honored to be able to work with these groups and do good together for our communities.”
Since 2009, the company has donated more than $2 billion in food to the needy and has pledged an additional $2 billion in food donations over the next 10 years. Publix Super Markets Charities recently made donations totaling $2 million to support Feeding America member food banks during the pandemic.
Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix operates 1,242 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. The company is No. 5 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.