LAKELAND, Fla. - As farmers around the country have been forced to dump milk and destroy produce due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Publix announced a new initiative to partner with those farmers and bring them some relief.
The Lakeland-based grocery store chain acknowledges that restaurant, hotel and school closing have impacted Florida's produce farmers and southeastern dairies.
"Resulting in good food going to waste," according to a Publix statement. " At the same time, Feeding America estimates 17.1 million people will experience food insecurity due to school closures and rising unemployment in the coming months."
Publix said it will now purchase that produce and milk directly from farmers and donate it to Feed America member food banks in the community. According to a statement, the program is expected to run for "several weeks."
"We’ll donate 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk in the first week alone."
Recently, Publix Super Markets Charities donated $2 million to Feeding America.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, Publix announced it will install Plexiglass around cash registers to protect cashiers and some stores have implemented one-way aisles by placing arrows on the floor.
Publix has allocated the first shopping hour every Tuesday and Wednesday for elderly customers. In addition, last week, Publix announced it will set aside special shopping hours for first responders and hospital staff, which will be Thursday evenings from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday mornings from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
The grocery store chain also announced it will require employees to wear face masks for the duration of the pandemic.