As farmers across the country struggle amid a pandemic-driven collapse in demand from food-industry customers—which includes restaurants, cafeterias, and airlines—the supermarket chain Publix has stepped in to buy dairy and fresh produce to donate it to food banks.
Over a period of several weeks that the campaign is expected to last, Publix will be donating the milk and produce it buys from farmers to Feeding America member food banks.
“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,” said Feeding South Florida President and CEO Paco Velez.
As part of the new initiative, Publix will buy food from Florida produce farmers and southeastern dairy farmers.
“It’s a win-win for our farmers who are feeling the impact of decreased demand and the families who are in need of nutrient-rich milk during this pandemic,” said Southeast Milk Inc. president Joe Wright.
In a bid to help farmers struggling amid the disruption caused by the pandemic, President Donald Trump on Friday announced a $19 billion relief program, including $16 billion in direct payments to producers and mass purchases of meat, dairy, vegetables, and other products.
As part of the Trump administration's bid to help farmers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday it would spend $3 billion to buy fresh produce, dairy, and meat that will be given to food banks for distribution to families in need.