The spread of coronavirus was first reported in the media as a medical event. Then, it became an economic event. At Tyson, we try to approach this as a “human event” – one that calls us to take care of each other and the communities where we live and work. This includes our customers and our suppliers, our hospitals and our schools, our families and our friends.
As challenges emerged over the last couple of months, we took the opportunity to put our purpose into action. “Raising the world’s expectations for how much good food can do.” Dating back to February, when our colleagues in Asia were impacted by the virus, we jumped into action, donating nearly $500,000 in product and cash to impacted communities there. With the spread to other parts of the world, we are taking steps to ensure everyone here at home is safe, healthy, and able to deal with the unanticipated consequences of a global health crisis.
I’m eager to share here some of the steps we are taking to help our team members, customers, and our Tyson communities.
The well-being of our Tyson team members is our top priority. We relaxed our attendance policy to reinforce the importance of staying home when sick. We are waiving the waiting period for Short Term Disability benefits if a team member is sick with the flu or COVID-19. Additionally, we are waiving co-pays for the use of telemedicine as well as co-pays and deductibles for doctor visits for COVID-19 testing.
For many of our communities, the ripple effect of the quarantine means jobs are lost, bills stack up, and people need food beyond the grocery store. In the month of March alone, we donated 16 million meals to Feeding America food banks, pantries located in Tyson communities and to our very own team members. That’s more than $11 million in protein for hunger relief in less than a month. In addition, more than 15 truckloads of product have been delivered to Tyson plants for distribution to team members and those local communities in need.
The give doesn’t stop with physical meals. It comes in the form of $2 million in grants to plant communities and other non-profit partners. If team members want to give to a charity, we have agreed to a triple match of the team member’s donations to non-profits of their choice.
Globally, Tyson Foods has a presence on six different continents. So, as the coronavirus is making its presence known all over the world, our work to contribute doesn’t stop within the US borders. Specifically, in China, Tyson gave $250,000 in cash to the Red Cross and to the hospital near our Tyson complex adjacent to Shanghai. Another $231,000 in the form of Tyson products was donated in China as well.
At the local level, resources have been committed to create meal boxes containing non-perishable product for our drivers, product has been donated to make sack lunches for students out of school and a mobile food pantry has been activated to name just a few examples.
It would be a miss to not thank the hardworking farmers and ranchers that help us feed the world. Tyson Foods provided a one-time premium effective for cattle harvested the week of March 23rd to demonstrate commitment and support of the valued cattle suppliers.
But after all this, what does this mean for Tyson Foods? The end goal is that we can look back over this trying time and say that we did our best to be leaders in our global community. In any and every way possible, we used our means to do good for the world. Our people, our customers, our consumers and those that we may never know we touched can hopefully say that Tyson Foods is not just a protein company. Tyson Foods is a global and reliable partner during a time of greatest need.