USA – The PepsiCo Foundation has announced a more than US$45 million initiative focused on helping people and communities most affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

As efforts accelerate worldwide to provide relief to affected regions, the food and beverage company said that it is funding vital support including protective gear for healthcare workers, testing and screening services.

In addition, PepsiCo revealed in a statement that the company is already in the process of distributing more than 50 million meals to at-risk populations by supporting food banks and other partners around the world.

“This unprecedented crisis requires all hands on deck, and companies have a big role to play in directing critical resources to the most vulnerable,” said Ramon Laguarta, Chairman & CEO PepsiCo.

“Food is at the heart of what PepsiCo does, and we believe the best way we can support communities during this difficult time is by leveraging our expertise and capabilities, along with help from our partners, to bring food to our neighbors who need it most.

“We’re activating our global resources to do this now and provide other essential relief, and we will continue to do so as the world unites to tackle COVID-19.”

As part of the US$45 million package, the company has committed US$15.8 million in North America, which has the most recorded cases of COVID-19 in the world.

PepsiCo said that its efforts in the region will focus primarily on increasing access to nutrition for out-of-school children in the US—22 million of whom receive low-cost or free meals via the country’s National School Lunch program every day.

The company is also funding protective gear for healthcare workers in the US, investing in testing and screening services, and providing financial support for US restaurant workers who are experiencing joblessness.

In Europe, where entire countries are on lock-down and hospitals are over capacity the company has committed US$7.7 million particularly hard-hit countries including France, Italy, and Spain to bolster the capacity of local health and relief systems.

In Latin America, PepsiCo is dishing out US$6.5 million to help prepare for the expected increase in COVID-19 impact by strengthening local food bank capabilities.

PepsiCo will also channel US$7.2 million into Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, where the company will be is investing to scale meal distribution among the most food insecure populations in partnership with leading NGOs and to support government-led responses to local needs.

The company has also committed US$3.3 million in Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, and China through meal distribution programs and funding healthcare initiatives.

The company is also investing in global partnerships that provide scale solutions

PepsiCo said that will announce additional programs over the coming days and weeks to meet hyper-local needs as COVID-19 continues to spread and community needs expand.