The food and supplies donated to the city will be handed out starting Tuesday morning as officials begin work to relocate more than 100 unsheltered individuals who have been seeking refuge at the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The pandemic has had a profound impact on our livelihoods and our daily routines, but our essential team members are working to do good while keeping Philadelphia connected and moving,” said Jim Moses, Vice President of Northeast Hubs and Gateways for American Airlines. “Today’s donation builds on American’s partnership with the city and Philabundance as they work to provide support to some of the most vulnerable in our community.”
Support services for the unsheltered
As efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 have closed public spaces and strained community support services, many of those in need are no longer able to access daytime services and other support for the homeless. Social distancing requirements instituted to protect the health of those in temporary housing have limited the capacity of existing facilities.
The city’s OHS and DBHIDS, tasked with managing outreach and care for the unsheltered in Philadelphia, has been working tirelessly since March to scale services and extend support to unsheltered individuals who are facing hardship as a result of the pandemic. The pandemic kits, which include gloves, a face mask, hand sanitizer, soap and tissues, provide OHS and DBHIDS staff critical outreach resources as they work to provide counseling and match services to address the unique needs of unsheltered individuals, including those being relocated from PHL to local shelters. American previously donated 5,000 of the kits to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
“The city is focused on the health and safety of everyone at the airport — those who are unsheltered, outreach teams, and PHL and other city employees,” said City of Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy. “We are grateful for American Airlines’ partnership and donation of food, protective equipment and sanitary supplies that will help keep everyone healthy and safe.”
Hunger relief to those in need
Additionally, the city has partnered with Philabundance to provide boxed food to thousands of Philadelphians, as well as prepared meals for hundreds who may be experiencing homelessness. The Mix & Munch, prepackaged snack boxes — containing wheat thins, smoked gouda cheese spread, craisins, a Milano cookie, almonds and a sanitizing wipe — and juice will be distributed throughout the Philadelphia area to individuals and families facing hunger. All food and beverages, which would have been served onboard American flights, will be used to augment existing hunger relief resources provided by Philabundance.
Since March, American has donated more than 200 tons of food valued at more than $1 million to nonprofit partners while transporting critical supplies and personal protective equipment for first responders globally.