LAKELAND, Fla. - Publix says their initiative to help support Florida farmers and families in need has reached a major milestone.
The Lakeland-based supermarket chain says in just two weeks, it purchased over 1 million pounds of fruits and vegetables, as well as over 100,000 gallons of milk, from farmers across the Sunshine State and the southeast.
Publix launched the initiative in late April to help farmers and families struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Their goal was to purchase produce from Florida farmers and dairies throughout the southeast to donate directly to Feeding America food banks throughout the company's seven-state operating area.
Feeding America estimates Publix's donations will help feed an additional 17 million families during the pandemic, as their food banks have seen an increased demand.
One farming company thanked Publix for helping keep their business afloat.
“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 has allocated the first shopping hour every Tuesday and Wednesday for elderly customers. In addition, the supermarket chain said it has 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.