American Airlines distributed more than 81,000 pounds of food to food banks across the country through its partnership with Feeding America to help restock their dwindling supplies.
Food banks have seen an uptick in visitors since the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak because the of the virus’s financial impact on families. Air travel demands have also changed due to COVID-19, and American realized a surplus of food from its inflight service and Admirals Club lounges. Now, the airline is donating food ranging from breakfast items to fresh produce to support area 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, Senior Vice President – Global Engagement for American. “The challenges facing local food banks and the growing need for families to utilize the resources these organizations 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 pounds of fresh produce to Equal Heart in Dallas.
- 1,100 pounds 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 and its commitment to helping fight hunger.
“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 neighbors have the food they need during this challenging time.”
“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, 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 give more than 10,000 food items to the Global Food Bank Network in Hong Kong.