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Publix pledges free food to nonprofit group

Publix, the region’s newest grocery chain, surprised the nonprofit Loaves & Fishes with a pledge to donate a truckload of free food each month for the next 12 months. The first load of 33,321 pounds of food arrived Wednesday to be sorted and shipped to the agency’s 19 food pantries. The gift comes at a time Loaves & Fishes has seen a 127 percent increase since March in referrals from the Department of Social Services, in part because of a computer system changeover that has delayed food stamp benefits to some families. Loaves & Fishes says the additional referrals from DSS have accounted for 56,868 additional meals at a cost of $23,315. “This couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Beverly Howard of Loaves & Fishes. “This ongoing support will feed thousands of people.” Mark Price

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