Jeff Bezos Will Donate $100 Million to Help Food Banks Facing Shortages Due to the Coronavirus Outbreak
Jeff Bezos is donating $100 million to Feeding America, a nonprofit that helps food banks feed families in need.
The Amazon founder and CEO posted about the donation on his Instagram account Thursday afternoon, citing the spread of the coronavirus the reason he chose to make the donation.
"Even in ordinary times, food insecurity in American households is an important problem, and unfortunately COVID-19 is amplifying that stress significantly," Bezos wrote. "Non-profit food banks and food pantries rely in large part on surplus food from a range of food businesses. For example, many restaurants donate excess food. But during this time of social distancing, restaurants are closed, and many other normal channels of excess food have also shut down. To make matters worse, as supply is dwindling, demand for food bank services is going up."
Bezos isn't the only one working with Feeding America. Also on Thursday, Apple, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Leonardo DiCaprio teamed up to launch a new organization called America's Food Fund — one of the fund's first beneficiaries will be Feeding America.
Bezos and Amazon have been working behind the scenes during the pandemic, including holding talks with the World Health Organization, providing IT support, and offering to deliver COVID-19 test kits in the UK. Amazon, along with Microsoft, donated $1 million to a Seattle-based fund for coronavirus response, and Amazon set up a $25 million relief fund for its independent delivery drivers and seasonal employees.
But the relief fund also sparked backlash after it included a "Donate" button on the relief fund site, leaving many to conclude that Amazon, a $1 trillion company, was soliciting donations from the public to help its workers. (Setting up a fund like this requires Amazon to open it up to the public, but Amazon was not asking for donations, the company told CNET.)
And inside Amazon's warehouses, which have been deemed "essential" and are still operating, employees have raised concerns that the company isn't keeping them in the loop about new cases of coronavirus among workers, and that Amazon isn't properly sanitizing the fulfillment centers or supplying enough sanitation supplies or protective gear. Workers at multiple Amazon warehouses around the country have since gone on strike.