Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have announced a $25 million commitment to go toward organizations on the ‘front lines’ in fighting the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant announced it on 17 March.
“In times of need, we see communities come together to do extraordinary things. This pandemic is no different,” Walmart Foundation President and Walmart EVP and Chief Sustainability Officer Kathleen McLaughlin said in a release.
“We hope these grants will help to expand critical response efforts as we continue to work together to address the impact of COVID-19.”
The release informed that grants will be split across a variety of organizations, with $10 million going toward food banks, school meal programs and providing access to food for undeserved populations; $10 million geared toward local efforts in the U.S. and internationally and the final $5 million earmarked for global efforts in preventing, identifying and managing the outbreak.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon appeared alongside President Donald Trump last week as Trump declared a national state of emergency — a measure aimed at tapping the federal government’s ability to offer up to $50 billion in aid to state and local governments.
Taking the podium after Trump, McMillon said that the retailer is reserving space in its parking lots for coronavirus testing, adding that the company will aid in coronavirus preventative measures as needed.
As a purveyor of essentials such as groceries and key household goods, Walmart is exempt from store closure policies that have seen many retailers temporarily shuttering their doors. However, the chain has cut back on hours at some of its stores for the time being to allow for more frequent restocking as well as cleaning and sanitization.
Additionally, Walmart has implemented emergency leave procedures for now to prevent sick associates from coming into work, including waiving its attendance policy and ensuring quarantined employees will receive up to two weeks pay.
Internationally, there have been more than 203,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with over 8,200 deaths recorded. In the U.S., nearly 6,500 people have been sickened, with the death toll yesterday climbing to over 100.