USA – In response to alarming evidence of the continued negative impacts of COVID-19, PespiCo, Kroger and Diageo have launched new initiatives worth US$142.5 million to alleviate the effects of the pandemic.

PepsiCo and and its philanthropic arm, The PepsiCo Foundation have launched a new US$7 million program Help Address Rates of Infection, Joblessness and the Dearth of Vital Resources Needed in Black and Latino U.S. Communities Disproportionately Afflicted by COVID-19.

PepsiCo said that the US$7 million initiative is a comprehensive project to support immediate relief and long-term recovery to the communities through the National Urban League, UnidosUS and local nonprofits across the nation.

The program will provide US$1 million each to the National Urban League and UnidosUS to help feed families and seniors, increase medical care and testing, expand access to government support and provide technology for remote education and work, with a portion of the funds focused on post-recovery relief.

The company will donate an additional US$5 million to local nonprofit partners to provide support and services that meet the specific needs of Black and Latino communities, including COVID-19 testing and screening, access to affordable nutrition, healthcare services, education, job training business resources as well as economic and childcare assistance and family and senior housing,

This initiative builds on PepsiCo’s more than US$50 million global commitment to provide vital support to those impacted by the devasting COVID-19 virus, which includes distributing more than 50 million nutritious meals to at-risk populations.

In April, Pepsi partnered with Global Citizen to host “One World: Together at Home,” a concert to celebrate healthcare workers that raised US$127 million for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

American retailer and grocer, Kroger has also announced a US$130 million thank you pay for hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates as part of the company’s acknowledgement of their dedication to maintaining operational stores.

As part of its ongoing investment in associate and customer safety, the Kroger Family of Companies also announced that it will continue its COVID-19 Emergency Leave guidelines to provide paid time off to associates most directly affected by the virus or experiencing related symptoms.  

The new Thank You Pay of US$130 million and extended paid COVID-19 Emergency Leave are in addition to the US$700 million the Kroger Family of Companies has invested since March to reward associates and safeguard associates, customers and communities.

Diageo North America has also committed more than US$4.5 million to support the bar and restaurant community that has been particularly hard hit by the current situation, with many facing extreme financial and personal uncertainty in the coming weeks and months.

Specifically, Diageo North America has pledged US$1 million to the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) Bartender Emergency Assistance Fund, which is being  used to support those who will go without work during this challenging time.

Diageo Canada, along with Diageo World Class Canada, has also pledged US$200,000 to support the Canadian hospitality industry  while Johnnie Walker, along with Crown Royal and Bulleit donated $100,000 to Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Fund.

CÎROC and Diageo have also made a US$1 million donation to Direct Relief and Captain Morgan pledged US$500,000 to support Major League Soccer’s MLS Unites for Those in Need across the U.S. and Canada.

These additional efforts build on Diageo pledge to enable the creation of more than eight million bottles of hand sanitiser, by donating up to two million litres of alcohol to manufacturing partners, to help protect frontline healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.