ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Sheetz is launching a “Kidz Meal Bagz” program today to provide free bag lunches for needy children to help fight hunger during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s one of the many ways c-stores and food suppliers are helping their local communities during the crisis.
Sheetz said the meals will be available all day starting today at participating Sheetz locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. The lunches include a turkey sandwich, chips and a drink, and families will receive one bag per child while supplies last. Click here for a list of participating locations.
The spread of COVID-19 and subsequent school closures have left many youngsters without a reliable food source. “It is our hope Sheetz’s Kidz Meal Bagz program will make a small difference and provide nourishment to those in need during these uncertain times,” Travis Sheetz, president and COO of the Altoona, Pennsylvania-based convenience retailer, told CBSN Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, a Mobil gas station in Safety Harbor, Florida, is offering free lunches to elementary and middle school students, FOX 13 News reports. The lunches include a deli sandwich, chips and drink.
Ervin Suci, Safety Harbor Mobil Deli station manager, told FOX 13, “There are a lot of restaurants that have been closed and all the workers, the bartenders, they have kids. They can only provide a couple weeks’ worth of money that they had saved for food.”
Select 7-Eleven locations are providing a similar service with the chain’s “Team No Kid Hungry” program. The Irving, Texas, convenience retailer also is helping outfit first responders with personal protective equipment (PPE) with a donation this week of one million masks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“7‑Eleven is a brand that cares deeply about the people and communities in which we operate, particularly the first responders and the medical community who put their lives on the line for us every day,” Joe DePinto, 7‑Eleven president and CEO, said in a news release. “When we heard shortages of masks were becoming a serious issue in hospitals, we felt it was our responsibility to respond and help.”
In addition, 7‑Eleven has provided all locations with a supply of masks for in-store use and is installing sneeze guards at registers throughout the chain, keeping its own front-line workers in mind.
Elsewhere, Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest foods companies, said it donated 16 million meals to Feeding America food banks, pantries located in Tyson communities and to its own team members during March. In addition, the company delivered more than 15 truckloads of product to Tyson plants for distribution to hourly team members and local communities in need.
In addition, Tyson announced it will pay roughly $60 million in bonuses to front-line workers and truckers during the current pandemic. According to TheHill.com, 116,000 workers and truckers will be eligible for $500 bonuses in the first week of July. “Our team members have stepped up during this challenging time to make sure we continue fulfilling our critical mission of feeding people across America,” said Noel White, CEO, Tyson Foods, adding that the bonuses are “another way can say ‘thank you’ for their efforts.”
The Springdale, Arkansas, company also announced it is waving its “5 consecutive day waiting period for short-term disability benefits” in its mandatory health care coverage plan so workers can be paid if they become sick with the flu or COVID-19.
The company recently committed $13 million for the communities where it operates, including $2 million in grants to non-profit organizations to help support Tyson team members and area residents with current challenges, such as childcare and bill payment.
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.