Amazon founder and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos will donate US$100 million (AU$166.7 million) to food banks in America as coronavirus pushes thousands into unemployment.
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Bezos announced he would donate to Feeding America, a Chicago charity with 200 food banks across the country in a post on his Instagram.
“Even in ordinary times, food insecurity in American households is an important problem, and unfortunately Covid-19 is amplifying that stress,” Bezos said.
“Non-profit food banks and food pantries rely in large part on surplus food from a range of food businesses. For example, many restaurants donate excess food. But during this time of social distancing, restaurants are closed, and many other normal channels of excess food have also shut down.”
And, he noted, as supply goes down, demand is increasing.
He called on other Americans to donate, if they have the ability to do so.
Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said this was the largest single gift the charity had received in its history, and would help to feed millions.
Bezos has an estimated net worth of US$114 billion, while Amazon is worth US$1 trillion.
The Amazon founder previously donated to the All in Seattle coalition to raise funds for housing and food security. While the coalition made US$27 million, it has not disclosed the amount Bezos donated.
He also landed in hot water in late March after Amazon donated US$25 million to a relief fund for Amazon workers. The Amazon Relief Fund was established to assist employees and partners, particularly those tasked with delivering products across the country.
While the company donated US$25 million, the fund also allowed for public donations, drawing the ire of the public.
The company was later forced to clarify that it was not asking for donations, and the ability to receive public funds was simply the structure required to operate such a fund.
Bezos also came under fire earlier this year after announcing Amazon would donate US$690,000 to bushfire relief, with critics claiming with Bezos’ huge wealth, that sum was the equivalent of 4.6 minutes of his time.
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