Publix is buying excess milk and produce from farmers—and donating it to food banks

April 24, 2020

At a time when many Americans either don’t have the money to buy it—or cannot find a fresh quart on supermarket shelves—many see it as a travesty that farmers nationwide have been forced to dump milk because schools, restaurants, and other organizations are on lockdown and unable to serve it.

Produce also is rotting on the vines—wasting away without being harvested or eaten.

But now, one U.S. supermarket chain is taking action, CBS News reports: Publix, an employee-owned American supermarket chain headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, launched a new initiative on April 22 to help struggling farmers—and to get food to the Americans who need it most.

In a press release, the company promised, “Publix will donate [fresh produce and milk] …directly to Feeding America member food banks in its operating area. 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.

During the first week of the initiative alone, some 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk are expected to be donated, CBS reported.

“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 the company’s press release. “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.

“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 Feeding South Florida President and CEO Paco Velez. “We’re grateful to Publix for not only supporting growers, but also for their years of support of Feeding South Florida.”

Research contact: @CBSNews

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