With 28 million recent unemployment claims and the supply chain in disaray amid the spread of COVID-19, grocery chain Publix announced an initiative to help both those in need and the farming community.
Publix said that more than 150,000 pounds of produce, and 43,500 gallons of milk is to be donated to Feeding America food banks during the first week of the initiative.
This comes as Feeding America projects US food banks will face a $1.4 billion shortfall because of the economic impacts of the virus.
Feeding America estimates that 17.1 million have because food insecure because of the virus.
“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 this time of uncertainty, we are grateful to be able to help Florida’s produce farmers, southeastern dairies and families in our communities.”
Publix said that because of school, restaurant and hotel closures, produce and milk have been going to waste. Publix hopes the program will keep the supply chain during this period.
“Like so many others right now, Florida farmers are in a time of need. We are humbled Publix is purchasing additional fresh vegetables from us and other local farms to donate to food banks throughout the Southeast,” said Pero Family Farms Food Co. CEO Peter F. Pero IV. “Thank you to Publix, the participating food banks and their volunteers for making this initiative possible for those less fortunate while supporting local farms.”