Photos of unbelievably long lines at food banks across the country made headlines last spring. Food insecurity has been an issue for many Americans, but it became even tougher for many to feed their families as the pandemic caused joblessness and closed schools, which many children relied on for at least two meals each weekday.
Other issues simultaneously bubbled up to the surface as well – including limited access to technology, lack of childcare and even homelessness. To help combat these issues, USAA and The USAA Foundation, Inc. gave $47 million in philanthropic support to pandemic-related efforts, over half of the $90 million USAA pledged to nonprofits in 2020. Additionally, employee donations and company matching contributed more than $14.3 million to nonprofit organizations, and employees volunteered 141,000 hours.
In Tampa, the nonprofit Meals on Wheels saw a drastic uptick in requests for assistance from area residents. Kathy Ritchie, Meals on Wheels of Tampa Board president, describes the increased need for volunteers at the onset of the pandemic.
“The calls from distressed individuals in Tampa who needed to begin service increased as the reality of the dangerous virus set in,” says Kathy. “Because of volunteers like USAA employees, every one of them was put on a delivery route, with no waiting list. Our treasured volunteers continued to deliver through it all.”
USAA’s donations also include funding for the San Antonio Food Bank’s new Culinary Center for local culinary professionals. Eric Cooper, president & CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank, says this new center will result in $2 million in benefits to San Antonio’s low-to-moderate income community.
“USAA is best in class for employee engagement and corporate social responsibility – you lead the way in our community: taking care of our military families, helping those facing food insecurity, and building bridges through racism and social injustice,” says Eric. “The pandemic of 2020 only strengthened your position as the community leader in corporate engagement. We can’t think of San Antonio without thinking of USAA, and we are grateful for the support for our pandemic response and for our new Culinary Center.”