We’re all in this pandemic together, which is why kindness from all people is so important. And it was wonderful to hear that the Florida-based supermarket chain Publix announced that they will be buying fresh produce and milk from Florida farmers and southeastern dairies, in order to make a donation to Feeding America‘s food banks and to do their part in the current crisis.
According to the grocery chain’s press release, in just the first week, Publix has bought more than 150,000 pounds of produce, as well as 43,500 gallons of milk, directly from Florida farmers.
Learn more about the 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk purchased from local farmers and donated to Feeding America® food banks in the first week of our new initiative. https://t.co/y1zl7iG59z pic.twitter.com/nbDPzAQULm
— Publix (@Publix) April 22, 2020
Their initiative began back on the 22nd of April, and they are planning to run it for several weeks.
Todd Jones, the CEO for Publix, said in the statement, “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. In this time of uncertainty, we are grateful to be able to help Florida’s produce farmers, southeastern dairies, and families in our communities.”
Feeding America is estimating that there are about 17 million extra people who will be experiencing food shortages and struggles because of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the ensuing market conditions. For example, farmers are facing a surplus of produce and goods that they can’t sell off due to the closure of restaurants, schools, and workplaces all across the US.
It’s a problem that Publix is hoping to help fix.
Feeding America’s South Florida President and CEO, Paco Velez, released a statement saying, “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. We’re grateful to Publix for not only supporting growers, but also for their years of support of Feeding South Florida.”
According to CNBC, an unprecedented number of more than 26 million people have been forced to file for unemployment due to the current pandemic. Since there are many states who aren’t sure which non-essential businesses can re-open, there are many people who are turning to food assistance programs in the meantime.
Besides the goal of helping local communities feed those who need food, the program is also hoping to help out farmers during this difficult crisis.
Pero Family Farms Food Co. CEO Peter F. Pero IV said, “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.”
Not only has Publix stepped up to purchase items, but the corporation has also made $2 million in donations to help support Feeding America member food banks. NPR reported that Publix also started hiring “thousands of associates” in late March in order to keep up with the demand put on them due to the pandemic.
This pandemic has really been a struggle for many of us, but it is so reassuring to see kindness being spread to those in need. We all need to come together and do our part in whatever way we can.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.