Publix Is Buying More Than 150,000 Pounds of Produce From Farmers and Donating It to Food Banks

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Though you wouldn't know it from looking at cleared-out supermarket shelves, farmers are dealing with a big food waste problem. With major buyers like hotels and restaurants closed during the COVID-19 crisis, producers have been forced to destroy crops and other perishable items they can't sell. Food banks, meanwhile, are facing increased demand and a shortage of supplies. As CBS News reports, Publix is responding to both issues by purchasing thousands of pounds of produce from farmers and donating it to food banks.

The southeastern U.S. supermarket chain announced on April 22 that it plans to donate 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk to Feeding America over the next week. While there isn't a food shortage in America, the existing supply chain makes it difficult to get surplus food directly to the many people out of work and school who currently need it. As a major grocery chain, Publix is in a position to buy these goods directly from farmers and ensure they don't go to waste. Not only does the initiative fight hunger, but it also supports farmers during a tumultuous time for the industry.

“We are thrilled about Publix’s initiative to buy additional milk from Southeast Milk for processing and donation to Feeding America member food banks,” Joe Wright, the president of Southeast Milk Inc., said in a news release. “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.”

After buying produce from Florida farmers and milk from southeastern dairy farmers, Publix will donate the items to Feeding America branches in the farms' local communities. The initiative, which launched on Wednesday, is expected to last for several weeks.

[h/t CBS News]

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Starbucks Is Giving Free Coffee to Frontline COVID-19 Workers All Month Long

Starbucks is saying thank you in typical Starbucks fashion.
Starbucks is saying thank you in typical Starbucks fashion.

Starbucks is showing its support for those individuals on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 this holiday season by giving the gift of free coffee—all month long.

From now through December 31, any health care worker or other frontline worker can get a tall hot or iced coffee whenever they stop by Starbucks. The offer extends to just about anybody in a medical profession, including doctors, nurses, public health administrators, pharmacists, paramedics, dentists and dental hygienists, therapists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and other mental health professionals. Non-medical hospital personnel—including members of the janitorial, housekeeping, and security staffs—also qualify, as do emergency dispatchers, firefighters, police officers, and active-duty members of the military.

To address the pandemic’s emotional toll on essential workers, Starbucks has also contributed $100,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness to be used for virtual mental health services; and the company will give out 50,000 Starbucks care packages and gift cards to frontline workers across the country. While the main goal is to show gratitude to those keeping the nation afloat during an extremely difficult time, Starbucks is also hoping their initiative can be an example for other companies with resources to spare.

“Hopefully other brands will join us in thinking about how [they can] use their platform to again show support,” Virginia Tenpenny, Starbucks's vice president of global social impact, told USA TODAY. “Little deposits in morale can really go a long way, just so that they feel the support from our community.”

It’s not the first time Starbucks has spearheaded a long-term coffee giveaway this year; between March and May, the company handed out more than 2 million free cups of joe to professionals helping the country through the coronavirus pandemic. The Starbucks Foundation has also donated several million dollars to relief funds, food banks, and local organizations.

[h/t USA Today]