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COVID-19 Response: How the Coca-Cola North America System is Supporting Communities and Frontline Responders


Throughout its 134-year history, The Coca-Cola Company has operated in times of crisis and tapped its network of partners, suppliers and stakeholders to provide not only financial resources, but also logistical, technical and marketing expertise to support communities in need.

The Coca-Cola system, with production facilities and franchise bottling operations across the United States, continues to make and deliver the essential beverages local stores and communities need during this challenging time. 

But the company, its local bottlers, suppliers and employees are doing more than delivering drinks in the communities they call home. Local teams are finding ways to re-deploy resources to help meet the needs of first responders, healthcare workers, community organizations and more.

Supporting Our Foodservice Partners

To help support the restaurant community – an industry that employs more than 15 million Americans – Coca-Cola North America is providing its more than 8,000 employees across the U.S. and Canada with a $100 delivery credit for either DoorDash, Grubhub, UberEATS or Skip The Dishes to place meal delivery orders during this challenging time. Coca-Cola North America plants also have implemented routines to order takeout meals from foodservice customers as a thank-you to associates working hard to produce our products. This effort adds up to an immediate injection of nearly $1 million into the restaurant industry.

Separately, we joined forces with our industry peers to support #TheGreatAmericanTakeout, a movement encouraging Americans to order delivery or takeout meals. And to support U.S. restaurant workers financially impacted by the crisis, Coca-Cola North America made a donation to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF.US) to help the organization reach its impressive fundraising mark of $10 million in just 10 days.

We also launched the Coca-Cola Rapid Response Resource online portal to give restaurants access to free information and resources – from tips for optimizing takeout and drive-thru operations, to updated COVID-19 safety guidelines, to information on third-party delivery services and more.

Together We Can: Using Our Social and Digital Assets for Good

We are taking several actions to use our advertising and marketing resources to spread solidarity during these challenging times. On April 6, we used our company and Coca-Cola brand social media handles to promote a message of support and togetherness, and will use the scale of our Coca-Cola brand handles to share helpful information and meaningful messages from our partner community organizations like the American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Salvation Army and Feeding America, among others.

A video montage of Coca-Cola employees showing their gratitude and appreciation for essential healthcare workers and emergency responders on the COVID-19 front lines debuted on the Coca-Cola Times Square digital billboard at 7 p.m. ET on April 14 and will continue to run at the same time each night, joining the like-clockwork chorus of cheers from New Yorkers. The 40-second clip features a mashup of virtual “thank yous” sent in from employees’ kitchens, balconies, home offices and driveways with the trending hashtag #ClapBecauseWeCare.

On March 21, we updated our digital sign in New York’s Times Square to stress the importance of social distancing. The creative featured the iconic Coca-Cola logo with the Spencerian script letters deliberately spaced far apart, accompanied by the statement: “Staying apart is the best way to stay united.”

Providing Supplies and Transportation to Help Make Masks for Healthcare Workers and Frontline Responders

In the Boston area, thousands of face shields are being assembled for delivery to medical centers around the region, with more in the works. Ray Dube, sustainability manager at Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast, saw an opportunity to provide much-needed logistics and supply chain support to help nonprofit makerspace “MakeIt Labs” produce face shields to protect front-line healthcare workers.

Ray connected MakeIt volunteers with Coca-Cola plastic recycler UltrePet and packaging manufacturer EasyPak to donate and transport clean PET plastic sheeting to make the specialty shields. EasyPak donated approximately 6,000 pounds of clear PET sheeting, and Coke Northeast delivery trucks transported the Coke system’s first large-scale donation of PET sheets.

In partnership with MakeIt Labs and packaging supplier Sonoco, Coca-Cola also helped transport 6,000 pounds of plastic sheeting from Sonoco’s warehouse in North Carolina to Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Tech students and other groups will use the plastic sheeting to make 50,000+ plastic surgical shields for healthcare workers in the Atlanta area.

Another supplier, Filmquest, has generously agreed to donate 1,200 pounds of polyester film that will be assembled by MakeIt Lab volunteers into plastic surgical shields and donated to hospitals.

Helping Supply Hand Sanitizer and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company is responding to an urgent request from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for hand sanitizer and for donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) by hosting a drop-off location at their offices and rewarding people who donate with free eight-packs of Coca-Cola’s new AHA sparkling water. The Coke bottler is producing hand sanitizer at its Atlantic, Iowa bottling facility and donating it  to the University of Iowa Hospital System. 

Additionally, two suppliers – Western Container and Southeastern Container – are working with Coca-Cola bottlers and alcohol distilleries to create plastic bottles that can be filled with hand sanitizer solution and donated to healthcare and public safety workers. Western Container shipped two truckloads (over 200,000 units) of 500-ml bottles to Whiskey Hollow Distillery in Valley View, Texas. These bottles will be custom labeled by the distillery as donated hand sanitizer to Texas-area hospitals.

Providing Financial and In-Kind Support to Community Organizations

The Coca-Cola Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company, is awarding $13.5 million in grants to five nonprofit organizations working on the front lines of the U.S. and Canadian humanitarian response to the coronavirus pandemic. The latest grants support organizations focused on providing relief to first responders and residents of economically disadvantaged communities, both in the company’s hometown of Atlanta and across North America. Read more about the organizations receiving the grants here.

In addition to financial donations, the company and its bottling partners continue answering the call for beverage donations wherever possible. To date, the Coca-Cola system has donated nearly 2 million beverages to support community organizations, food banks and frontline responders throughout the U.S.

Assisting our Hometown Partners

Coca-Cola is donating hand sanitizer, wipes and other cleaning and disinfectant supplies to the Salvation Army Red Shield Shelter in Atlanta to ensure they can continue to safely serve the needs of Atlanta’s homeless and disadvantaged during this crisis

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