Bezos' donation will be distributed throughout food banks across America to ensure that families in need can eat

By Joelle Goldstein
April 02, 2020 06:53 PM
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Jeff Bezos is doing what he can to help those in need amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Amazon CEO, 56, announced on Instagram on Thursday that he would be donating $100 million to Feeding America, a hunger-relief organization, in order to help the families who rely on food banks and have been majorly impacted by the virus.

“Even in ordinary times, food insecurity in American households is an important problem, and unfortunately COVID-19 is amplifying that stress significantly,” he wrote on Instagram.

Bezos went on to explain that nonprofit food banks and pantries often rely on surplus food from restaurants and other businesses, but they have been unable to do so because COVID-19 has forced closures and social distancing.

“To make matters worse, as supply is dwindling, demand for food bank services is going up,” he continued. “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.”

That generous gift will be distributed to a network of food banks and pantries across the country, ensuring that the “countless families” who need food will receive it during this difficult time, Bezos said.

Finishing his post, the Amazon CEO called on his followers to join him in his efforts by donating to the cause.

“Feeding America is the largest non-profit focused on food security,” he wrote. “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.”

More than 37 million people — 11 million of whom are children — face hunger nationwide, according to Feeding America, which cited the most recent United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food security report on their website.

Though they’ve been able to help provide more than 4.2 billion meals to those in need each year, the organization said in a press release on March 13 that they’ve been inundated ever since the coronavirus began rapidly spreading through the U.S.

As a result, Feeding America established a $2.65 million COVID-19 Response Fund to help food banks across the country impacted by the pandemic and called on the public and government to support them in their ventures.

“This fund will advance their ability to respond efficiently and effectively in their communities so that food is not added to the list of worries for families during this pandemic,” Feeding America’s CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot wrote in the release. “We cannot do it alone.”

Jeff Bezos
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 20: Founder/chairman/CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, speaks onstage during "The Prime of Mr. Jeff Bezos" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 20, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

In addition to Bezos’ donation, Amazon has already shown its support for coronavirus relief efforts, donating $1 million to a Seattle fund and establishing a $25 million fund for its delivery drivers and seasonal employees, according to Business Insider.

Late last month, Bezos announced that Amazon was prioritizing stocking and delivering essential items, hiring for 100,000 new roles, and increasing wages for hourly workers.

He said the company was also holding conversations with the World Health Organization, as shown in one of his Instagrams, and helping them with their coronavirus response efforts through tech support and production/distribution of COVID-19 tests.

“We will continue to help WHO in every way we can in the coming weeks and months,” Bezos wrote beside a photo of their video conference.

Bezos isn’t the only well-known leader of a company who has prioritized food banks amid the pandemic, either.

Last month, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg and her fiancé Tom Bernthal launched the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Feeding Families in partnership with their local food bank, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, to ensure families were being fed during the crisis.

The couple announced they were teaming up with Nike CEO John Donahoe and his wife Eileen, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer, Additional Ventures co-founder Erin Hoffmann, Benchmark general partner Bill Gurley and his wife Amy, Intuit co-founder Scott Cook and his wife Signe Ostby, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman to make a joint donation of $5.5 million.

Sandberg also said she and Bernthal were matching any donations that were made to her post’s fundraiser, which has since ended, but raised over $281,000.

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Additionally, Apple teamed up with Laurene Powell Jobs and Leonardo DiCaprio to launch America’s Food Fund, an organization that will benefit Feeding America and World Central Kitchen. So far, the fund has raised over $12 million on its GoFundMe.

As of Monday afternoon, there have been at least 234,483 cases and 5,708 deaths attributed to coronavirus in the United States, according to the New York Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.