Supermarket chain buying excess farm produce to donate to food banks
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Florida-based Publix said it will buy excess produce and milk from farmers for the next several weeks to donate to food banks in areas the supermarket chain serves. 

Publix said Wednesday that it will purchase more than 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk during the first week of the initiative. 

The effort is aimed at helping both the increased number of people expected to be in need of food amid the coronavirus pandemic, as well as farmers who are reportedly discarding produce and milk that isn’t being sold due to mass school and restaurant closures, Publix said. 

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“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 this time of uncertainty, we are grateful to be able to help Florida’s produce farmers, southeastern dairies and families in our communities.”

Publix said the nonprofit Feeding America has estimated that 17.1 million additional people will experience food insecurity due to school closures and rising unemployment amid the pandemic. 

“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,” Feeding South Florida President and CEO Paco Velez said in the announcement. “We’re grateful to Publix for not only supporting growers, but also for their years of support of Feeding South Florida.”