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Harry Chapin Food Bank receives $125,000 gift from Publix Super Markets Charities

By Staff | Sep 3, 2020

Photo provided Richard LeBer, left, Harry Chapin Food Bank president and CEO, accepts the donation from Brian West, community relations manager of Publix Super Markets.

Harry Chapin Food Bank announced this week that it has received a $125,000 gift from Publix Super Markets Charities to support COVID-19 relief efforts in the community. Harry Chapin Food Bank serves five counties in Southwest Florida where 156,070 people are facing food insecurity, according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study. That number has grown significantly as so many in our community are facing job losses and other economic impacts due to COVID-19.

Harry Chapin Food Bank has seen an up to 80 percent increase in the need for food in the five-county footprint it serves since the coronavirus pandemic began, and Publix Charities’ donation will help increase capacity and meet this elevated need. Publix Charities has given a total of $1,233,640 to Harry Chapin Food Bank since 2004.

“At times like these, when your Food Bank is distributing twice as much food to help hungry families, it’s good to know that we can rely on the assistance of our friends at Publix,” said Richard LeBer, Harry Chapin Food Bank president and CEO. “We are so grateful for their tradition of generous support for our community.”

Additionally, as the impact of the pandemic took shape, many produce and dairy farmers around the Southeast saw their buying partners dry up and found themselves dumping or plowing over product they could no longer sell. Meanwhile, food banks throughout the region were experiencing substantial increases in need. To bridge the gap, Publix implemented a program to purchase surplus produce and milk from farmers and deliver it directly to food banks. Since then, Publix has purchased and delivered more than 11 million pounds of produce and 500,000 gallons of milk to Feeding America member food banks throughout the Southeast, including 624,502 pounds of produce to Harry Chapin Food Bank.

“It has been our privilege to support hunger relief throughout the Southeast for many years now, and this work has never been more important,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support Harry Chapin Food bank and to alleviate hunger in the communities we serve and bring hope to those who need it most during these uncertain times.”

The $125,000 donation from Publix Charities to Harry Chapin Food Bank is one of several donations made this year to help provide food and other essential support to those hardest hit by the pandemic. In all, Publix Charities has donated $5 million to Feeding America member food banks and other nonprofit partners in 2020.

About Harry Chapin Food Bank

Harry Chapin Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, is the largest hunger-relief organization in Southwest Florida. The food bank rescues food that would otherwise go to waste and distributes it to families and others in need through a series of programs that feed 28,000 people a week. They include: Care and Share Senior Feeding Program, Harry’s Helpings, Fulfill Mobile Pantries, In-School Pantries and our Partner Agency Program, which is a network of more than 150 partner agencies in its five-county footprint.

Harry Chapin Food Bank distributed more than $51 million worth of food in fiscal year 2019. Through its programs, the food bank has supplied 31.5 million pounds of food and other grocery items. The food is the equivalent of 26.2 million meals for people in need. For more information or to make gift, call 239-334-7007 or visit harrychapinfoodbank.org.


About Publix Super Markets Charities 

George Jenkins, founder of Publix Super Markets and affectionately known as “Mr. George,” believed in giving. From the day he opened his first Publix, he made sure his associates, customers and community were taken care of.  In 1966, Jenkins established the foundation with the vision it would continue giving long after he was gone. To learn more, visit www.publixcharities.org.

Publix, with more than 220,000 associates, currently operates 1,253 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Visit the company website, corporate.publix.com.