Crocs, Walmart, Unilever and others have stepped up during the coronavirus outbreak
Free coffee, donuts and shoes are among the items retailers and brands are bestowing on health professionals for the risks they’re taking combatting the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the freebies available for healthcare workers and first responders:
- Starbucks is giving a free tall brewed hot or iced coffee from March 25 through May 3 to anyone who “identifies themselves” as a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, doctor, nurse, hospital or medical staff member or a medical researcher;
- On March 25, Crocs began offering healthcare workers across the U.S. a free pair of clogs with free shipping while supplies last;
- Sweetgreen is delivering free fresh salads and bowls to hospitals in the cities it serves;
- Beginning today, Krispy Kreme will give out a free dozen glazed doughnuts every Monday to healthcare workers.
A second way companies are helping combat the virus is by providing safety equipment for health workers. Fanatics, Gap, Ralph Lauren and Canada Goose are among those making masks, gowns and/or scrubs for hospitals. Apple last week said it has sourced and is donating 10 million masks to the medical community in the U.S. Various alcohol and perfume brands are making hand sanitizers.
Walmart on March 18 committed $25 million to various organizations, including: $10 million for food banks, school meal programs and organizations that provide access to food for underserved populations; $10 million to “support local efforts” in the U.S. and around the world; and $5 million to help other countries fight the virus.
Nike’s founder and top executives are donating more than $15 million to support response efforts in its home state of Oregon. Amazon.com created a $5 million fund to support small businesses around its Seattle headquarters.
Unfortunately, many retailers and vendors find themselves foremost seeking to preserve cash in an uncertain environment.
Unilever stands out for offering €500 million ($580 million) in “cash flow relief to support livelihoods across its extended value chain,” including providing early payments to “vulnerable” small and medium-sized suppliers and offering credit to select small scale retail customers whose businesses rely on Unilever. Alan Jope, Unilever’s CEO, said in a statement, “The world is facing its greatest trial in decades.”
- Starbucks partners bring coffee and comfort to COVID-19 front-line responders – Starbucks
- Krispy Kreme to Give Away Thousands of Free Original Glazed Dozens to Thank Healthcare Community and Share Joy Among Customers and Neighbors – Krispy Kreme
- Walmart and the Walmart Foundation commit $25 million to global COVID-19 response effort – Walmart/Business Wire
- COVID-19 Community Response – Nike
- The world’s biggest retailers are using their factories to create hand sanitizer and hospital gowns and donating millions to help fight the coronavirus pandemic – Business Insider
- Helping to protect lives and livelihoods from the Covid-19 pandemic – Unilever
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advice would you have for retailers and brands around supporting health professionals and other organizations fighting the coronavirus pandemic? Have you noticed any other support efforts that seem particularly praiseworthy or innovative?