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Publix donates 1.3 million pounds of food to curb food bank shortages

The new six-week program to support Florida’s biggest food banks is an extension of a program the Lakeland chain began in April.
A man drops off a food donation during a food drive hosted by Feeding Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020 in Tampa.
A man drops off a food donation during a food drive hosted by Feeding Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020 in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Dec. 16, 2020

Publix is donating another 1.3 million pounds of groceries to Florida food banks facing unprecedented demands, driven by the pandemic.

Publix first started donating food and milk in April, when the pandemic created a surge in need across the state. The new six-week program will bring pasta, canned goods, cereal and potatoes to the state’s six largest food banks, including Feeding Tampa Bay.

Feeding America estimates more than 2.7 million Floridians are currently struggling with hunger.

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

“When we heard from food banks that they were facing a critical food shortage, we knew that, as a food retailer, we had another opportunity to help,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said in a statement. “With 90 years of relationships and expertise, we are able to mobilize quickly — sourcing, purchasing and transporting what these food banks need most — and bring hope and nourishment this holiday season.”

The six targeted food banks serve a total of 46 Florida counties, according to Publix.

In April, Publix began purchasing surplus produce and milk from farmers, as those out of work were buying fewer groceries. That program has been ongoing and Publix estimates it will have delivered 18 million pounds of produce and 500,000 gallons of milk through the Southeast this year.