To help address food insecurity in the community surrounding Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2), and support families as students go back to school, Amazon is donating more than $250,000 worth of products from Amazon Fresh to Food For Neighbors, Abingdon Elementary School, and DC Food Project to support more students facing food insecurity have access to fresh and shelf-stable food, in addition to essential toiletries.
“Amazon Fresh is committed to being a great neighbor, and it is important to us to support students in elementary, middle, and high school have the food they need to succeed,” said Amazon Fresh district manager Jim Gillespie. “We are proud to expand the already excellent work Food For Neighbors, Abingdon Elementary, and DC Food Project are doing throughout the HQ2 area to help alleviate food insecurity for thousands of children and their families.”
Amazon Fresh—Amazon’s online and physical grocery store—continues to expand throughout the HQ2 region, hiring hundreds of local employees. Amazon Fresh has one store in Washington, D.C. and five in Northern Virginia—including one in Arlington—serving customers shopping for fresh produce, meat, seafood, delicious prepared foods, and low prices every day. Since opening the first Amazon Fresh store in the region, Amazon has donated more than 1 million meals to local food banks and nonprofits.
According to Capital Area Food Bank, nearly 1 out of 10 residents of the Capital region are food insecure—and nearly one-third of those people are children.
Amazon’s donation to nonprofit Food For Neighbors will help kick off Food For Neighbors’ launch into Arlington Public Schools. Food For Neighbors was founded to address the food insecurity students face over weekends and holidays when they’re not receiving school meals. The first Arlington Public Schools to receive their services will be Wakefield High School, Arlington Community High School, and the Arlington Career Center. Food For Neighbors will use Amazon’s donation to build and stock school food pantries with food from Amazon Fresh, including breakfast protein bars, noodles, and fruit bowls. The nonprofit will also use the funding to supplement this shelf-stable food with gift cards for the most vulnerable students.
“We are thrilled to have Amazon’s generous support as we roll out our services to Arlington Public Schools. This is a big investment in the local community,” said Karen Joseph, founder and executive director of Food For Neighbors. “Access to a dependable food source helps students meet their immediate nutritional needs, which helps them be better students. Students are able to focus in school, and have less pressure to work long hours to provide for themselves and their families. Long term, being better students increases the likelihood that they'll be successful members of the community, which lifts up everyone.”
Also in Arlington, Abingdon Elementary School is using Amazon’s donation to build snack baskets in 34 classrooms, filled with items like granola bars, cheese crackers, and applesauce from Amazon Fresh. Abingdon Elementary is just minutes away from Amazon’s HQ2 and is focused on building meaningful relationships throughout the community and ensuring students have access to fine arts and technology education. Their fully stocked snack baskets will help make food more accessible.
"At Abingdon, we focus on taking care of our students' needs and building upon their strengths,” said Abingdon Elementary School principal David Horak. “Having a healthy and accessible snack every day is a significant step to ensuring that all students have their needs met so that they can focus on learning. This partnership for snacks for all students is a significant step in meeting the needs of our students.”
In Washington, D.C., DC Food Project plans to use Amazon’s donation toward their Pantry Program. DC Food Project's Pantry Program is designed as a place where students can discreetly receive food and other items they need, either throughout the school day, when the school day has ended, and/or over the weekends. With plans to double the number of pantries in schools year over year by working closely with school leadership and social workers, Amazon's donation will specifically help to launch a Pantry Program at Kramer Middle School, along with purchasing snacks and toiletries from Amazon Fresh for 25 D.C. schools participating in DC Food Project's Pantry Program throughout the entire school year. Items will include granola bars, oatmeal packets, cheese crackers, and raisins, as well as essential toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, and shampoo.
"People often ask us where we see DC Food Project going from here," said DC Food Project's co-founders, Lucie Leblois and Alysa MacClellan. "Our aspirational goal has always been to make sure no child in Washington, D.C. goes hungry when they go home from school—a lofty goal, we know, but we firmly believe the programs we have launched can be part of that solution. Amazon’s commitment to DC Food Project is the first step towards that dream. We now believe it is attainable."
Since 2018, Amazon has committed more than $34 million in total investments to local nonprofits, community groups, public schools, and businesses in the local community. This includes both monetary and in-kind donations to organizations focused on racial equity, sustainability, education, and food insecurity. Amazon’s Right Now Needs Fund has donated more than $2 million since its launch in Northern Virginia in 2020, and specifically supports students across the region through donations of backpacks, clothing, school supplies, hygiene products, and other daily essentials. Amazon also works with local school caseworkers and social workers to provide more details and resources about Amazon’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT program, which helps make food accessible through online grocery shopping, offering all customers convenience, time savings, and low prices delivered straight to their door.
Fighting food insecurity is a community effort, and Food For Neighbors and DC Food Project rely heavily on volunteers to support local students. Neighbors, including Amazon employees, living throughout Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. are encouraged to check out the wide variety of ways to volunteer. Community members interested in supporting Food For Neighbors may sign up to be a Red Bag food donor, and may register to provide hands-on and other support. For those interested in supporting DC Food Project, please contact the team.