(TMU) — As the coronavirus pandemic continues to do damage to the United States economy, an increasing amount of working-poor and middle-class families are being pushed to the brink of poverty and food insecurity.
However, the problem has also extended to farmers, who have resorted to dumping produce and milk to cope with a crisis of falling prices and overproduction that could ruin their ability to remain economically viable.
To help cope with the spiraling crisis, employee-owned U.S. supermarket chain Publix has pledged to begin buying fresh fruit, vegetables, and milk from farmers and donating it directly to the food banks of Feeding America, a nonprofit organization devoted to relieving hunger in the United States.
The initiative will primarily benefit produce farmers in Florida, dairy farmers in the southeast, and an ever-growing number of families relying on charities like Feeding America to fill their pantries as jobless claims top 24 million as of this week.
Publix expects that over 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk will be donated during the first week of the program, which is expected to continue for several weeks.
Publix CEO Todd Jones said in a press release:
“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 Florida’s produce farmers, southeastern dairies and families in our communities.”
Due to school closures and a virtual freeze in the hospitality and restaurant industries in the wake of COVID-19 outbreaks and the resulting state orders to maintain physical distancing and safer-at-home rules, farmers have faced a ruinous situation that could do long-term damage to U.S. agriculture.
However, Publix hopes that its latest initiative can offer some help to both agriculture producers and local food bank partners in the region.
Pero Family Farms Food Co. CEO Peter F. Pero IV said:
“Like so many others right now, Florida farmers are in a time of need. We are humbled Publix is purchasing additional fresh vegetables from us and other local farms to donate to food banks.”
“Thank you to Publix, the participating food banks and their volunteers for making this initiative possible for those less fortunate while supporting local farms.”
The initiative comes just as Feeding America released new reports warning that the ongoing pandemic could raise the amount of food-insecure Americans to unprecedented heights.
According to the report titled The Impact of the Coronavirus on Child Food Insecurity, the number of food-insecure children could swell to 18 million—a highest-ever total since the USDA began measuring food security 25 years ago. The current record is 17.2 million in 2009 during the peak of the Great Recession.
A separate fact-sheet, The Impact of the Coronavirus on Food Insecurity, also warns that in a worst-case scenario stemming from the pandemic, the number of food-insecure individuals could rise by 17.1 million—which, in turn, can lead to people facing a higher risk of experiencing severe illness and of contracting COVID-19.
However, Publix hopes that its donations totaling $2 million to support Feeding America can help do some good in helping to alleviate hunger in poor communities.
Publix’s Jones said:
“In addition to providing much needed produce and milk to food banks, this initiative provides financial support to farmers during this challenging time.
“We’re honored to be able to work with these groups and do good together for our communities.”
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”
Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family
Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.
“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.
Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.
Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.
“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.
“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”
The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.
The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.