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Publix donates another $3 million and more produce to food banks

The Lakeland grocer has donated a total of $5 million and more than 11 million pounds of food since the start of the pandemic.

Publix has donated another $3 million to food banks throughout the southeast, including $225,000 to Feeding Tampa Bay.

The Lakeland-based grocer started upping its donations to Feeding America and affiliated food banks at the start of the pandemic, which has put scores out of work.

“Millions of Americans aren’t sure where they will get their next meal, and as a food retailer, we can make a difference,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones in a statement. “It’s been our privilege at Publix to help people in need for many years, most recently with our new program supporting farmers, food banks and families hit particularly hard by the pandemic.”

Related: Publix is buying produce from Florida farms to donate to Feeding Tampa Bay

Publix has been purchasing surplus produce and milk from farmers to deliver to food banks for the last several months. Since April, Publix has donated more than 11 million pounds of produce and 500,000 gallons of milk throughout the southeast.

Feeding America estimates an additional 17 million Americans could be facing hunger because of the pandemic, bringing the total Americans facing food insecurity to 54 million people. While farmers are struggling to sell all their stock, food banks are reporting as much as a 400 percent increase in demand.

Publix says it’s trying to help bridge that gap.

“Food banks across the country have been working tirelessly to meet increased demand, but we cannot do it alone,” CEO of Feeding America Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said in a statement. “The most vulnerable people in our communities — including many children and seniors — need us now more than ever.”

Publix donated $2 million to Feeding America earlier this year.

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