As Feeding Northeast Florida sees a dramatic rise in food insecurity since COVID-19 hit, an outpouring of help has come from local donors and corporations.
Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, which operates Winn-Dixie and Harveys supermarkets across the First Coast, is the latest to announce an initiative to help food banks struggling to keep up with demand.
Its $5 hunger relief donation bag program will run through May 15. Customers are being encouraged to help neighbors in need by purchasing a $5 bag of non-perishable food items at store registers.
All hunger relief bags will be fulfilled directly from the warehouse and delivered to local food banks in Jacksonville and at other areas across the Southeast that Southeastern Grocers serves.
Pepsi has pledged to donate $25,000 to the campaign to donate 5,000 hunger relief bags to Feeding America member food banks across the Southeast.
The Winn-Dixie Gives Foundation is also donating food to help people in Clay County.
Feeding Northeast Florida CEO Susan King told WJCT News on April 23 that before the pandemic hit, Feeding Northeast Florida was moving approximately 50,000 pounds of food a day. Now that number was up to between 75,000 and 85,000 pounds a day.
An estimated 17.1 million additional people will experience food insecurity due to school closures and rising unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Feeding America.
Feeding Northeast Florida has partnered with grocery stores, manufacturers, and farms during the COVID-19 pandemic to help meet the increased demand.