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The food and beverage giant said Thursday the funding will go toward protective gear for health care workers, testing and screening services and that it will distribute more than 50 million nutritious meals worldwide.
“This unprecedented crisis requires all hands on deck, and companies have a big role to play in directing critical resources to the most vulnerable,” PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a statement.
“We believe the best way we can support communities during this difficult time is by leveraging our expertise and capabilities, along with help from our partners, to bring food to our neighbors who need it most. We’re activating our global resources to do this now and provide other essential relief, and we will continue to do so as the world unites to tackle COVID-19," Laguarta said.
Pepsi is the latest company to step up to support health care workers and people in need. Companies across all industries from tech to makeup manufacturers, automakers and distilleries have done their part to pivot manufacturing efforts to produce personal protective equipment for hospitals or allocate funds to firms that can help amid ongoing shortages. Companies such as Apple, Delta Air Lines, Estée Lauder, Gap Inc. and Ford are among the many others who have pledged support.
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As part of the $45 million investment, PepsiCo will allocate $15.8 million in North America, the nation with the most confirmed cases of the deadly virus. While many schools across the country are closed due to the outbreak, PepsiCo says it's focused on feeding the 22 million kids who receive low-cost or free meals through the U.S.’s National School Lunch program daily.
The company will allocate $7.7 million in funding to Europe, particularly to impacted countries such as Italy, Spain and France, where it will distribute personal protective equipment; $6.5 million in Latin America to support local food banks; and $7.2 million will go to Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. And $3.3 million will be allocated to Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and China.
PepsiCo said it will expand on the investments in the "coming weeks."