As part of the world’s efforts to help support people during the Covid-19 outbreak, American Airlines has so far distributed more than 81,000 lbs (36,740kg) of food to food banks across the USA, through its partnership with Feeding America, to help restock dwindling supplies.
Food banks have seen an uptick in visitors since the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak due to the virus’s financial impact on families. Air travel demands have also changed due to Covid-19, and the airline had a surplus of food from its inflight service and Admirals Club lounges. Now, the airline is donating this food, ranging from breakfast items to fresh produce, to support food banks.
“We saw this as an opportunity to care for the communities where our team members and customers live and work,” said Ron DeFeo, SVP of global engagement at American Airlines. “The challenges facing local food banks and the growing need for families to utilise the resources these organisations offer have been well documented. Once we learned of the surplus, we knew exactly what we were going to do with it.”
So far in April, American has donated:
- 63,000 meals to the Greater Chicago Food Depository
- 26,000 meals to St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, Arizona
- 4,000 lbs (1,814kg) of fresh produce to Equal Heart in Dallas
- 1,100 lbs (499kg) of milk to Minnie’s Food Pantry in Dallas
- 10,000 food items to the Tarrant Area Food Bank in Fort Worth, Texas
People volunteer and bring food to their local food banks year-round, but the sudden rise in demand due to Covid-19 is being felt across the country. Staff members at different food banks voiced their support for American Airlines and its commitment to helping fight hunger.
Here’s what they had to say:
“Food banks are working around the clock to meet this rising demand, but we cannot do it alone,” said Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “This generous product donation from American Airlines will ensure more of our neighbours have the food they need during this challenging time.”
“In these difficult times there is no way St Mary’s Food Bank could keep up with the incredible need from tens of thousands of families without great partners joining us,” said St Mary’s Food Bank president and CEO, Tom Kertis. “Our thanks to American Airlines for their donation of 25,000 breakfast bags that will help curb a demand that has tripled in the space of two weeks.”
“Donations from American are helping food banks in Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth and Phoenix stay afloat as they help families impacted by the pandemic. Keven Vicknair, president and CEO, Equal Heart, said he has noticed an ever-increasing need for support because both food banks and the people they serve are being affected financially.
“Companies like American Airlines…enable us to remain operational, especially now during the pandemic when demand is so high,” Vicknair said. “Personally, I am thrilled when local companies such as American donate food as it demonstrates a sense of community and the belief that we are all in this together and will only come through it if we work together.”
“When Minnie’s Food Pantry needed milk for kids in our community, it was American Airlines that answered the call. Instead of discarding the milk that they no longer needed because of facility shut down, they thought outside the box and donated to Minnie’s Food Pantry,” said Dr Cheryl Jackson, founder of Minnie’s Food Pantry. “We are grateful to receive this incredible donation which resulted in so many smiles the very next day. We appreciate our partnership with American Airlines, it’s something special.”
“We will use these breakfast meals with the Fort Worth ISD and Birdville ISD to provide meals to children who normally receive the free breakfast and lunch meals at their school, said Julie Butner, president and CEO of Tarrant Area Food Bank. “We are so appreciative of this gift because it will allow us to continue to provide meals for FWISD and Birdville ISD students while they stay safe at home.”
Later this month, American will also give more than 10,000 food items to the Global Food Bank Network in Hong Kong.