Coronavirus Pandemic: KFC, Chipotle, Starbucks And More Give Back

During the COVID-19 outbreak, many essential personnel, like first responders and nurses, are on the frontlines of the pandemic. Healthcare workers, grocery store employees and more are witnessing the virus's impact first-hand. And those who aren't considered essential personnel are either out of a job or working from home. Here are the companies trying to make this unprecedented situation a little brighter.

Taco Bell

On March 27, Taco Bell CEO Mark King announced plans to give back to essential workers by turning all Taco Bell food trucks into mobile commissaries. The trucks will deliver food to those in essential roles. Additionally, Taco Bell is donating $1 million to No Kid Hungry, a national campaign working to end child hunger in the U.S. You can also round up to the next dollar on your drive-thru visit, and the change will be given to No Kid Hungry.


Craving great fried chicken? KFC is there to help. The corporate arm of the fast food chain announced its plans to send 1 million pieces of chicken to KFC restaurants across the country so they can help communities in need. Select KFC franchises have donated thousands of meals to healthcare workers, COVID-19 testing sites, first responders and more. In addition, KFC donated $400,000 to Blessings in a Backpack to provide meals to children affected by school closures. 

General Mills

General Mills issued a press release that outlined a series of actions to help employees and the community during the coronavirus outbreak. The company's plans include providing the opportunity for corporate employees to work at manufacturing plants, and enhancing benefits for plant employees by providing a daily bonus as well as paid leave for those who need it. General Mills will also give $5 million in charitable grants to ensure children have access to food during school closures. And while there are many concerns surrounding coronavirus, the Food and Drug Administration doesn't believe the virus can be transmitted through food.

Just Salad

The fast-casual dining concept Just Salad issued its COVID-19 plans in a press release. The group is partnering with Mount Sinai Health System to deliver 10,000 meals a week to seven hospitals across New York City. The deliveries began on Monday, March 30, and Just Salad plans to continue its delivery operation in the weeks to come. The president of Mount Sinai stressed the importance of employees having access to healthy meals, and salads contain foods that can boost your immune system.


Chipotle is just one chain restaurant offering free delivery right now, but the company's coronavirus response doesn't stop there. Chipotle's "Burritos For Healthcare Heroes" initiative provides free burritos to healthcare employees as a way to thank them for their work on the front lines. All you have to do is go to Chipotle's website and nominate your healthcare team, and the chain will send you 25 burritos at any time of day between April 6 and April 10. Submit your form by April 2. The brand will give away 100,000 burritos in total.

Girl Scouts

If you're craving dessert during coronavirus quarantine, then head to the Girl Scouts' website. Although door-to-door cookie sales have been suspended due to COVID-19 concerns, the group is still supporting 1.7 million girls who depend on the program by making online ordering available. Girl Scouts also created a donate option where people can opt to donate cookies to first responders, healthcare workers and more. You can read about how to purchase and donate cookies here.


In addition to giving coronavirus first responders free coffee until May 3, The Starbucks Foundation will donate $500,000 to support front-line responders in the U.S. Starbucks also issued a press release announcing plans to transform mental health benefits for all U.S. employees. Beginning April 6, the company will provide access to 20 free sessions a year with a mental health therapist for partners and eligible family members.


The fast-casual restaurant Sweetgreen is providing healthy meal options to healthcare workers for free. Sweetgreen Outpost is a project launched by Sweetgreen with its partner, World Central Kitchen. The goal is to provide over 100,000 free meals to people working on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic. Sweetgreen has already donated more than 10,000 meals and launched an Impact Outpost Fund with WCK and world-renowned chef José Andrés.


In addition to "Hero Pies," the online initiative which allows customers to buy pizza for healthcare professionals, &Pizza has also taken steps to make sure its employees are well cared for. On March 13, CEO Michael Lastoria announced plans to provide employees with free unlimited pizza for them and their immediate family. &Pizza is also providing unity pay — elevating the hourly wage by $1 for employees.


One company spreading kindness amidst the coronavirus pandemic is Foodkick, a food delivery service powered by Fresh Direct. The company recently announced plans to partner with NY Common Pantry, New York City's largest community-based food pantry. NYCP's volunteer force has dwindled due to increasing concerns over coronavirus, and Foodkick plans to help by assisting with the packing and providing of meals for the local community. Foodkick customers are encouraged to add a donation pack to their grocery delivery orders. Donation packs include one week of produce for 10 families for $20, four meals for someone in need for $5 and one meal for someone in need for just $1.26.


Freshly is a weekly subscription that delivers fresh, prepared meals developed by a team of chefs and nutritionists. In March, the company announced its partnership with Nestle to donate $500,000 to Meals on Wheels America, an organization dedicated to addressing senior hunger.


In the mood for a chicken sandwich? In addition to providing a no-contact delivery option to mitigate COVID-19 risks, Popeyes also announced that it's partnering with No Kid Hungry. Customers who order delivery from Popeyes can opt to add a dollar to their bill at checkout. This dollar will go toward the nonprofit organization, and Popeyes will match all donations when you order through its app.

Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot, the plant-based meal delivery service, will donate a percentage of sales from all meal kits to Feeding America. Additionally, the company will also provide a 30% discount on meals to all healthcare workers. The initiative was announced on March 20 and will continue until the end of May.

Darden Restaurants 

While Darden restaurants, like the beloved Olive Garden, have had to shut down their in-house dining experiences, the company is still making sure employees are taken care of. In addition to continuing to-go services, Darden Restaurants is also extending its emergency pay program, which provides paid sick leave to all hourly employees.

Krispy Kreme

One of the best doughnut chains in America is offering free doughnuts to those at the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. From March 30 to May 6, Krispy Kreme will be offering a dozen free Original Glazed Doughnuts to all healthcare workers in their drive-thru, with the show of an employer ID and a limit of up to five dozen doughnuts per healthcare worker.

White Castle

From April 7 through April 30, White Castle will be giving out one free Combo Meal or Breakfast Combo to all healthcare workers and EMTs who present their work ID when going through the drive-thru. The fast food chain will also be delivering Crave Cases of its cult favorite menu item, the Slider, to hospitals and other healthcare facilities in areas that have a White Castle location.


Dunkin' is encouraging its customers to give back to healthcare workers alongside them with a new gift card initiative. Customers can visit and send a healthcare worker or other hero they know with a Dunkin' e-gift card so they can buy their favorite doughnuts and some coffee. For every e-gift card purchased, Dunkin' has pledged to donate $1, up to $100,000, to the Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation's COVID-19 relief fund.


To help support local businesses during the coronavirus outbreak, DoorDash announced plans in mid-March to provide commission relief to new and existing partner restaurants. According to a DoorDash announcement, this plan will help restaurants generate $200 million in additional sales this year. All commission fees will be eliminated and more than 100,000 independent restaurant partners will be added to its subscription program for free. Use DoorDash to order a meal for your neighbor — it's one of many acts of kindness you can do from your couch

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