By RYAN SHEPARD, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — As government officials continue to search for more “out of the box” solutions to transport food from farmers to food banks during the coronavirus pandemic, Kroger has pledged a helping hand.
As part of its dairy rescue program, the grocery giant will donate 200,000 gallons of milk to food banks over the next four months.
Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said it’s part of an ongoing industry-wide effort to help the hungry while stabilizing the food supply chain, which officials say is starting to show signs of returning to normal.
“I was in the store last night — we had toilet paper, plenty of meat variety products: beef, pork, chicken, all those things,” McMullen told ABC News’ Good Morning America.
Still, there are many millions who aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from.
“About 42 million Americans across the nation were food insecure, and now add to that the Americans who filed for unemployment and it’s a huge increase,” Rescuing Leftover Cuisine CEO Robert Lee said.
“These are people that had jobs, that were working families, and are now trying to find the next meal from wherever it can come from,” he said.
To combat the issue, the Trump administration has committed $19 billion toward a relief program for farmers, part of which will include a monthly purchase of $100 million of surplus fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meat products that can be distributed to food banks across the country.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue believes that the program will “provide direct financial relief to our farmers and ranchers.”
“This program will not only provide direct financial relief to our farmers and ranchers,” Perdue said. “It will allow for the purchase and distribution of our agricultural abundance in this country to help our fellow Americans in need.”
Kroger officials said their milk donation is another way of helping the cause.
“Kroger recognizes the growing need for fresh, highly nutritious food in our community, especially for children as schools remain closed during the pandemic to flatten the curve,” Kroger’s Vice President of Manufacturing Erin Sharp said. “At a time when dairy farmers have surplus raw milk, we’re doubling down on our mission to reduce hunger and waste.”
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