Grocery chain Publix is working to keep Florida farmers in business while also feeding those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
The supermarket giant announced a new initiative Wednesday to purchase fresh produce and milk from farmers, which would then be donated to Feeding America food banks.
"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," the company said in a statement.
Publix said it will donate 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk in the program's first week. The initiative was expected to run for several weeks.
“It’s a win-win. We have growers that are getting sales of their produce and their milk and we also have families that are benefiting from all this great food,” said Paco Velez, CEO of Feeding South Florida.
Feeding America estimates 17.1 million additional people will experience food insecurity due to school closures and rising unemployment during the pandemic.
“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," Publix CEO Todd Jones said in a statement. “In this time of uncertainty, we are grateful to be able to help Florida’s produce farmers, southeastern dairies and families in our communities."