PEMBROKE PARK, FLA. (WSVN) - September is hunger action month.

Feeding South Florida, in partnership with Publix, is taking action to be part of the solution to put food on the table for families across South Florida.

This week alone, nearly 6,300 Publix associates across the southeast rolled up their sleeves and volunteered with 205 non-profits as part of Publix Serves Week.

One of the organizations joining Publix is the Feeding South Florida food bank.

“Prior to the pandemic, we were serving over 700,000 individuals in South Florida, from Palm Beach down to the Keys,” said Pasco Velez, president and CEO of Feeding South Florida. “The height of the pandemic, we were serving 1.5 million individuals.”

Since 2020, Publix has donated over 5.5 million pounds of produce alone, in addition to other perishable goods and funds to help meet the needs of people in South Florida.

The company’s CEO, Todd Jones is also putting in work.

“Being in the food business, one of the best things we can do is to try to alleviate hunger,” Jones said. “We have access to that food, we can put that stuff together, we can make it really easy for our customers, and so we’re just excited to be a part of this and give back to the community.”

This passion for service runs deep. From the company’s CEO to Publix associates like Tony Gonzalez, who on his last day of work, as he heads into retirement after 44 years on the job, also came in to give back.

“Being part of the community and helping out the community is very important to me personally, and to all our Publix associates that get excited about coming out and helping anyway they can,” Gonzalez said.

As volunteers and community partners like Publix stand on the frontline to fight food insecurity head on, there appears to be some hope on the horizon, even during these uncertain times.

“Now that the pandemic is starting to stabilize, we’re now serving 1.1 million individuals,” Valez said. “However, they’re coming more frequently because their dollars aren’t stretching as far as they used to.”

Together, all month long, they’re changing lives, one meal at a time and are glad to feed South Florida.

If you’d like to support this cause, during the month you can wear orange to raise the conversation about food insecurity and hunger.

You can also donate your time, talent or money to Feeding South Florida by clicking here.

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