Amazon is partnering with food banks across the US to deliver free meals to the vulnerable and elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amazon Flex drivers, who use their own vehicles and are paid an hourly rate by Amazon in a similar model to Uber, have already delivered 427,000 pounds of shelf-stable groceries, representing 336,000 meals.
As part of its new partnership with foodbanks Amazon says it plans to deliver 6 million meals by the end of June.
It has already begun operations in Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, but plans to roll the programme out to 25 US cities and other international locations in the near future.
Flex drivers collect the pre-packaged parcels from foodbanks, which will handle the sourcing and packaging the goods, and deliver to those most in need contactlessly.
“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,” San Francisco-Marin food bank’s vice president of supply chain Barbara Abbot said.
“Seniors who are part of the Supplemental Food Program 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.”