Amazon is delivering six million meals to underserved populations that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced.
The Seattle eCommerce giant said they are partnering with food banks in 25 U.S. cities to provide shelf-stable groceries and pre-packaged foods.
In a post on Amazon's blog on Wednesday (April 22), Barbara Abbott, vice president of supply chain at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, said that in addition to San Francisco, the initiative has launched in Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, Seattle and Washington, D.C., where Amazon has delivered 427,000 pounds of groceries, representing 336,000 meals. There are plans to expand to other U.S. cities and international locations in the coming weeks.
“Emergencies often impact the most vulnerable the hardest. Now, more than ever, access to nutritious food is essential to keeping our community healthy,” Abbott wrote. “But we can’t do it alone. Thanks to Amazon’s support, we are continuing to deliver senior boxes to the community. Our staff and our participants alike are grateful.”
Before the pandemic, one in five San Francisco and Marin residents were at risk of hunger, Abbott said. Now, thousands more suddenly find themselves unemployed or with reduced wages. In March, the charity saw 14,000 visits to their online food locator tool, up from 1,500 visits in March 2019.
Abbott said many of the food bank’s volunteers are seniors, but the coronavirus has forced many of them to shelter in place. This means many of the people the nonprofit counted on to get food out to the community are no longer available.
“Amazon has been a huge help with our distribution challenges by helping to deliver food directly to 9,885 senior households – those that are the most vulnerable – in our community this month,” she added.
Amazon said that since the beginning of the outbreak, the company has collaborated with health officials to respond to the pandemic, making sure customers receive vital products while keeping warehouse workers and drivers safe.
“We have implemented proactive measures at our facilities to protect employees and delivery partners, including mandatory social distancing, adding distance between drivers and customers when making deliveries, and providing masks for everyone to use, as we remain committed to keeping our teams healthy and safe,” Amazon said in a statement.