Kicking off its annual presence at the Masters, Wheels Up partnered with Golden Harvest Food Bank for a volunteer day. The country’s second-largest for-hire private aviation provider also made a grant providing 100,000 meals across the Food Bank’s 25-county service area.
On Thursday, Wheels Up volunteers and brand partners served lunch to guests at The Master’s Table Soup Kitchen in Augusta. They also distributed food to families in need at a Mobile Market Food Distribution in Aiken, S.C. It also provided a thank-you breakfast for food bank staff and supporting National Guard service members.
“We are honored to be working with Golden Harvest Food Bank in order to support the community in Augusta, which has given so much to us over the years,” said Gail Grimmett, Chief Experience Officer at Wheels Up.
She continued, “Our continued dedication to getting food into the hands of those who need it is unwavering as we aim to serve the communities we fly in and out of every day.”
Wheels Up launched the Meals Up initiative in March of 2020. It began with a pledge to provide 10 million meals to food-insecure families and individuals in partnership with Feeding America.
The program is an extension of Wheels Up Cares, a platform that was created to make an impact and lend the brand’s support to causes that are important to Wheels Up members, families, and friends.
Since its founding, Wheels Up has painted the livery of five Beechcraft KingAir350i planes. The aircraft serve as flying symbols of awareness for each cause represented by Wheels Up Cares and are permanent parts of its fleet.
In conjunction with Meals Up, Wheels Up unveiled the Orange Plane in September 2020. It honors Feeding America’s Hunger Action Month. Over the past year, Meals Up has provided more than 70 million meals.
“We are so thankful to Wheels Up for their generous gift and day of service,” said Amy Breitmann, Golden Harvest Food Bank’s Executive Director.
She added, “By linking arms with us, Wheels Up is helping to meet the elevated need we continue to see as our community recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. This partnership will touch the hearts and change the lives of our families, children, and seniors as they work to recover and rebuild.”
Since the start of the pandemic, food insecurity has risen 22% in Golden Harvest’s service territory. One in five people and one in four children are now experiencing food insecurity. Across the CSRA, calls to Golden Harvest for food assistance have doubled.
Golden Harvest has served more than 13 million meals and 314,000 families since COVID-19 began affecting the CSRA. The Food Bank has also invested in new trucks dedicated to taking food distributions to rural and at-risk communities. To date, more than 178 drive-thrus, no-contact mobile markets have been held.