The Supermarket Chain Has Donated More Than 5 Million Pounds of Food and 350,000 Gallons of Milk to Feeding America Food Banks Since April
When the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools, restaurants, and other establishments, farmers were met with decreased demand; forced to dump milk and discard produce. At the same time, rising unemployment levels and closed schools sent food banks like Feeding America’s scrambling to keep their shelves stocked. Publix took notice and in April, announced in a press release that it would begin purchasing and donating produce and dairy from local farms “to 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.”
With 200-plus locations across the country, including nine in Florida, Feeding America is the largest hunger-relief organization in the US. The organization’s South Florida location has been one of the greatest beneficiaries of the project so far, receiving more than 720,000 pounds of food and upwards of 97,000 gallons of milk from Publix, according to Feeding South Florida President and CEO Paco Velez. “As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, Publix understands that more families are turning to us to help put food, especially fresh produce and milk, on their tables,” said Velez in a statement to Consensus. “We’re grateful to Publix for not only supporting growers but also for their years of support of Feeding South Florida.”
One Florida farm that has benefited from the program is Pero Family Farms in Delray Beach. “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.
Publix’s operation has expanded rapidly since its April launch. The company revealed in a July press release that in just two and a half months, “more than 5 million pounds of produce and 350,000 gallons of milk have been purchased and donated to Feeding America member food banks throughout the company’s operating area.” Publix also confirmed that it is now purchasing from other farmers within its operating area, including ones in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and that it will soon buy from farmers in Virginia and Tennessee. “As the harvest season moves north, so is our initiative, expanding to support additional farmers and serve as many people as possible,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones.
For many in the Southeast, Publix is much more than a supermarket. Its clean, welcoming atmosphere, outstanding hospitality, competitive prices, and a wide selection of items, make it a household staple. The florida-based supermarket chain has locations spread across The Sunshine State and other Southeastern states including Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Publix has a history of combating hunger. Since 2009, the chain has donated over $2 billion in food to those in need, and just last year the company pledged another $2 billion in food donations over the next 10 years. The grocer’s Publix Super Markets Charities has donated $17.5 million to Feeding America and its food banks, “including $2 million during the pandemic,” according to Publix.