Publix donates more than 1 million pounds of produce in two weeks
We could have told you that already.

The program feeds the hungry and helps Florida farmers, too.

Two weeks after announcing an initiative to stock foodbanks with Florida-grown produce, Publix said it has secured 1 million pounds of food and 100,000 gallons of milk.

“We’re proud of the success this initiative has had in supporting farmers and families affected by the pandemic,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said.

“As a food retailer, feeding families is our greatest opportunity to give back, and we are grateful to be able to do so while supporting produce and dairy farmers. During such challenging times, we are even more committed to supporting those in need and doing good, together.”

Publix announced its initiative in late April, as Florida farmers crop were reporting record crop losses and families throughout the company’s southeastern footprint started turning up at foodbanks in record numbers. In some cases, crops had been left to spoil in the fields.

Feeding America, the food bank network Publix is boosting, estimates the new coronavirus pandemic will push 17.1 million additional Americans into food insecurity due to school closures and rising unemployment.

Publix’s plan sought to tackle both problems at once. It was praised by the agriculture industry and Feeding America when it launched, and the lot of them are still pleased a fortnight later.

“There are some things you can’t plan for, and this is one of them,” said 5 Brothers Produce Senior Sales Associate Thomas Torbert. “You just hope that you can find the right people to work with, people who can come up with the right solutions to help you make it through. We found that right partner in Publix.”

Publix’s initiative was rolled out across its operating area — the Lakeland-based grocer has 1,242 stores across Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

It was not the chain’s first coronavirus-related campaign. It also recently donated a combined $2 million to food banks in Feeding America’s network.

Much of that money will benefit food banks in Publix’s home state. The company’s latest round of donations saw $530,000 head to Florida food banks.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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