How is Amazon supporting local charities during COVID-19?
Since its inception in 1998, Amazon UK has been committed to supporting the communities where our employees live and work.
Whilst the ongoing pandemic has been affecting people in the UK since the country went into lockdown earlier this year, Amazon has been working with different communities and charities to lend support through the Amazon in the Community (AITC) UK programme.
Amazon in the Community
Amazon in the Community’s (AITC’s) goal is to make a difference in the world, as only Amazon can. We aim to harness Amazon’s unique spirit of innovation, grit and heart to help build a better future for our communities.
Amazon knows that the heart and soul of our company lies in the passion and brilliance of our employees. The AITC programme empowers and supports staff to actively build long-lasting solutions to challenges affecting their local communities. The programme also takes a hands-on approach, working alongside community organisations and leveraging Amazon’s unique assets, including our scale, logistics and technology, to help solve big problems.
The AITC programme selects a small number of priority areas to focus on in order to maximise our impact. Those priorities include increasing access to STEM and Computer Science education for underserved and underrepresented students, and addressing ‘Right Now Needs’ for children and families, such as food, shelter and other necessities.
Now more than ever, we are fulfilling that promise as we work quickly and innovatively to help community organisations respond to ever-changing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. But our goal remains the same: addressing urgent needs of the people in our local communities.
To streamline communications and operations, Amazon assembled a cross-functional COVID-19 Task Team, where each inbound community request is assigned to one of the following programmes to receive the most relevant support. This includes the Proxy Shopping programme, product donations and financial support.
To sustain Amazon’s support for local communities during COVID-19, the AITC team have allocated funds for three ongoing campaigns across the UK – find out more below.
Amazon has partnered with Magic Breakfast since 2016. The charity provides healthy breakfast food to school children, alongside additional support for learning and development. Before this crisis, the charity estimates that more than half a million children would arrive at school too hungry to concentrate and learn in class each day.
With schools shut due to COVID-19, charities like Magic Breakfast were temporarily unable to reach those children and families in need of support. In response, Amazon expanded the partnership and stepped in to help with warehousing and logistics expertise to deliver food parcels directly to the doorstep of thousands of children around the UK. Between 27 April and 8 May, nearly 10,000 children received packs containing two weeks’ worth of Magic Breakfast food, either via their schools, or via an Amazon delivery.
Since the start of the pandemic, in total the partnership has resulted in the delivery of more than 1.4m breakfasts to vulnerable children across the UK.
British Red Cross
Earlier this year, Amazon announced its pledge of £3.2 million to support those who are most affected by the COVID-19 crisis in the UK, which included a substantial donation to the British Red Cross.
The charity has used this donation to help extend the capacity of the NHS, support its logistics network in more than 150 NHS hospitals, provided over 20,000 care packages for the elderly and isolated, and collected and delivered medicine to people who were unable to leave their homes in lockdown.
This donation has also helped the British Red Cross to provide loans for mobility equipment, funding for psychosocial support networks and contributed to temporary housing for 1,500 asylum seekers.
Amazon also encouraged customers to become local British Red Cross volunteers, which contributed to 81,000 new sign-ups across the country.
Lightening the load for vital charity services
Since 2016, Amazon has supported Home Start by sending Christmas donations to local branches of the charity across the UK.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon has supported the charity by providing necessary resources to their local headquarters. Amazon provided essential items for families, such as food parcels, educational materials, phone top-ups and much more.
In addition to these campaigns, Amazon has partnered with several national charities to help lighten the load on vital services, such as those provided by Mind, Age UK, and Barnardo’s.
Commenting on this partnership, Emma Ihsan, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Mind, said: “The coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on our mental health. We’re so grateful to Amazon for supporting Mind with a donation to our emergency appeal. We hope this appeal will not only make sure we keep our vital services running, but also help us meet growing need and pick up the pieces when things start to return to normal.”
Amazon is also pleased to be a long-standing contributor to the economy in Scotland through various means, from investing in local operation to creating competitively paid jobs.
With close consideration, Amazon has carefully pinpointed the communities which have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Donations have included financial and product donations to the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland, donations to regional foodbanks, plus Amazon Fire tablets and Amazon vouchers across the region.
Proxy Shopping Programme
The Amazon Proxy Shopping programme is an extremely valuable service that enables non-profit organisations to request and receive items they really need.
The unique consultation process that takes place between Amazon and the charity means that we can leverage relationships, truly understand their needs as an organisation and provide adequate help in the areas that are important for them.
We approach each charity individually and ask them to tell us what’s important for them at that time, so we can best serve their needs. While some requests are relatively small in size or value, the impact they have is immense due to the targeted relevance of the support.
Donations through the Proxy Shopping Programme have included soap, hand cream, shower gel, bubble bath and shampoo to hospitals across the UK; thousands of stationery items to Rainbows for NHS Nightingale, providing the materials to brighten up windows of hospital wards; plus hundreds of devices such as radios, phone chargers and Fire Tablets to help patients stay connected with friends and family while in hospital.
Additional support from our Fulfilment Centre
Across the country, Amazon also boosted fulfilment centre budgets to aid proactive COVID-19 donations in local communities.
In Dunstable, for example, the Amazon team partnered with Luton and Dunstable Hospital to purchase various products over a five-week period from April to May. To thank local frontline workers, the team also sent small gifts to the hospital staff on International Nurses Day.
In Edinburgh, the local team supported the West Lothian community by offering health care gifts to residents of the Tippethill House Hospital. In addition, the team donated furniture and wellness items to the staff wellbeing hub at St John’s Hospital and donated money to the West Lothian Foodbank for maintenance and supplies.
Earlier in June, the Amazon Delivery Station team in Hemel Hempstead focussed on supporting children who were being sheltered during the pandemic for Children’s Hospice Week. Children at the Rennie Grove Hospice were gifted board games, gardening kits and arts and crafts materials to brighten their day and fill their time whilst schools were closed.
Find out more about how Amazon is supporting local communities.