Delivering 6 million meals to underserved and vulnerable populations
Communities around the world are facing the COVID-19 pandemic together and we believe Amazon has a unique role to play providing a critical service for families to get the items they need, without leaving their homes. We are partnering with food banks across the country to donate delivery services of shelf-stable groceries and pre-packaged foods to serve 6 million meals through the end of June, using our robust network of Amazon Flex drivers. Amazon has already delivered 427,000 pounds of shelf-stable groceries, representing 336,000 meals, in Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. We’re committed to expanding to 25 U.S. cities and other international locations to help those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Amazon’s food bank partners are responsible for providing, preparing and packaging all shelf-stable foods. Amazon Flex delivery partners will collect the pre-packaged foods from food banks, and make “no-contact” deliveries directly to the doorsteps of vulnerable groups in their own communities.
By Barbara Abbot, vice president of supply chain at San Francisco-Marin food bank
Emergencies often impact the most vulnerable the hardest and this is no different. Before the pandemic, 1 in 5 San Francisco and Marin residents were at risk of hunger. Now, thousands more suddenly find themselves out of work or with reduced wages. In March, we saw 14,000 visits to our online tool "the food locator"—compare that to 1,500 visits in March 2019.
Social distancing guidelines have completely changed the way we operate. Our staff has had to take extra precautions and set up new processes and protocols to ensure we are following these guidelines and keeping our staff, volunteers and participants safe.
We’ve had to limit the number of volunteers that come into our warehouse which impacts how much we are able to get done with volunteer support. At our food pantries, where our staff and volunteers are directly distributing food to the community, we have dedicated staff to spread our line out and to remind the participants of the guidelines. It's been a difficult process since all of it is new and unprecedented.
We've also had to figure out how to do things that we once had volunteer support for. Many of our volunteers are seniors or in other vulnerable groups, and COVID-19 has forced many of them indoors. This means that many of the people we relied on to help us get food out to the community are no longer able to help.
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.
Seniors who are part of the Supplemental Food Program (SFP) count on receiving a monthly box of healthy, shelf stable food each month, and now we have a consistent, reliable way to deliver them. Thanks to Amazon, we know our seniors will not miss a box this month or probably the next two, due to COVID-19 related disruptions. This also means that seniors don't need to leave their home to pick up this box of food which helps keep them safe and the community safe.
Michelle is 65 years old and homebound, due to health challenges and blindness. Even before coronavirus, it was difficult for her to access the food bank. With the coronavirus outbreak, it's impossible. Without Amazon's help, she tells me she "wouldn’t have a way to access food."
As part of SFP, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank serves almost 11,800 seniors per month at 64 distributions throughout the San Francisco and Marin County. Some of those distributions were run by our staff, but many are run by partner agencies that include senior housing organizations and senior community centers. Before Amazon Flex stepped in, we were concerned that we would not be able to get food out to our participants in April and May.
Emergencies often impact the most vulnerable the hardest. Now, more than ever, access to nutritious food is essential to keeping our community healthy. 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.
- Barbara Abbot
Since the beginning, Amazon has worked closely with health authorities to proactively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring we continue to serve our customers while taking care of our associates and drivers. 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. Learn more about how we’re prioritizing health and safety while fulfilling customer orders.