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Publix to buy produce and milk from local farmers, donate to Feeding America Foundation

The Department of Agriculture estimates an astonishing 54 million people can’t afford to eat, in large part because of the pandemic.

Thousands of people lined up for a food bank just outside of Atlanta today.

Thousands line up to get food in Atlanta (WINK News)

The federal government is working on a $3 billion push to buy dairy, produce and meat products from struggling farmers for food banks to hand out, but that could be weeks away.

Right here in SWFL, Publix is taking action that got the attention of the vice president.

Because of the urgent need too obvious to ignore, Publix says it will spend company money to buy produce and milk from local farms and donate that food to the Feeding America Foundation.

“It couldn’t come at a better time and it absolutely touches our hearts,” said President and CEO of Harry Chapin, Richard Leber.

He says what Publix is doing will make a huge impact on so many people.

“They support us in lots of ways, but for them to step up like this at a time when so many of our friends and neighbors are struggling…” he said.

The donation got the attention of Vice President Mike Pence who tweeted out his thanks.

“For Publix to take their own money and go buy milk and produce from farms is a wonderful and remarkable thing and very, very generous of them to do that,” he said.

Publix CEO Todd Jones did not want to talk on camera, but instead said in a statement:

As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In this time of uncertainty, we are grateful to be able to help.

We’re grateful beyond measure for them in the many ways that they support us.

Leber says he is not sure exactly when the Publix donations will start to roll in, but he is certain that none of the food will go to waste.

Reporter:Michelle Mackonochie
Writer:Briana Harvath
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