New York (CNN Business)Jeff Bezos is donating $100 million to US food banks to help them feed a growing number of out-of-work Americans who are losing their jobs during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Amazon (AMZN) CEO donated to Feeding America, a Chicago-based nonprofit with more than 200 food banks across the United States.
Bezos posted to Instagram a photo of a food bank, captioning it, “Even in ordinary times, food insecurity in American households is an important problem, and unfortunately Covid-19 is amplifying that stress.” He noted that restaurants are closed, and many churches that provide free meals are closed too, because of social distancing mandates.
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Even in ordinary times, food insecurity in American households is an important problem, and unfortunately COVID-19 is amplifying that stress significantly. 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. Today, I want to support those on the front lines at our nation’s food banks and those who are relying on them for food with a $100 million gift to @FeedingAmerica. Feeding America will quickly distribute the funds to their national network of food banks and food pantries, getting food to those countless families who need it. Feeding America is the largest non-profit focused on food security. Millions of Americans are turning to food banks during this time. If you want to help, the link to Feeding America is in my bio. They’d be excited and grateful for donations of any size.
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“This donation, the largest single gift in our history, will enable us to provide more food to millions of our neighbors facing hardship during this crisis,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, in a statement.
Bezos added a link to Feeding America in his Instagram bio, saying “if you want to help,” the organization is open to donations of any size.
This isn’t the first time Bezos has donated to a coronavirus relief effort. On March 23, he was one of dozens of donors to contribute to the All in Seattle coalition that funds charitable causes including food security and housing. The coalition raised over $27 million but wouldn’t disclose to CNN Business how much Bezos gave.
People on social media have called for Bezos to donate some of his wealth to help Amazon workers.
In late March, Amazon donated $25 million in a relief fund for Amazon employees and partners. But it confused and angered people that the fund’s page allows for public donations. Amazon later amended the website to say, “While we aren’t expecting anyone to do so, you can make a voluntary donation to the fund if you desire to do so.”
Amazon noted that it was required to solicit public donations to set up the relief fund.
“The structure to operate a fund like this, which hundreds of companies do through the same third-party, requires the program to be open to public contributions but we are not soliciting those contributions in any way,” Amazon told CNN Business in a statement on March 24.
In February, the tech billionaire pledged $10 billion to fight climate change, after Amazon employees pressured him and the company publicly.
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