Surprising Ways Companies Are Helping Battle the Coronavirus Pandemic

Companies Helping Covid

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Companies Helping Covid
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Finding Creative Ways to Help

While the coronavirus has been particularly cruel to small businesses, larger companies all over the world have been stepping up in spades to help. Many have been making crucial donations to organizations in need, but in other cases, they've started producing medical equipment and protective gear or donating food, products, and services that can help health-care workers and others through the crisis. Here's just a small sampling of how notable companies are using their resources to help battle COVID-19.

Related: 20 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference in the Pandemic

New Balance
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New Balance: Face Masks

A slew of companies have started making face masks, with JoAnn Fabrics even putting its army of customers to work, but New Balance has managed to repurpose its sneaker materials into some truly unique face coverings. Its factories in Massachusetts and Maine are pumping out five-layer masks that include polyurethane foam, nylon, and other shoe-making fabrics, and straps made from elastic laces.

Google and Apple

Google and Apple: Contact-Tracing App

Traditionally rivals, these two tech heavyweights are working together to roll out an app that would notify contacts of those with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis that they've potentially been exposed. To preserve individuals' privacy, the opt-in network would use randomized IDs and would not collect geographic information.

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Ford and 3M: Respirators

These two manufacturing giants have partnered to produce powered air-purifying respirators, or PAPR, that make use of fans from the Ford F-150's cooled seating system and 3M's HEPA air filters. Ford is also repurposing airbag materials to make reusable medical gowns.

General Motors
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General Motors: Ventilators

GM has started to build critical-care ventilators at its Kokomo, Indiana, assembly plant, and reports that it will have shipped more than 15,000 of them by the end of June. It is also using its plant in Warren, Michigan, to produce up to 50,000 masks each day, using materials that usually insulate trunks, roofs, and doors.

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Anheuser-Busch: Hand Sanitizer

Many distilleries and breweries around the country have pivoted to making hand sanitizer. Among the biggest: Anheuser-Busch, which has been cranking out 8-ounce bottles of 80% alcohol antiseptic. The company has also donated $5 million to the American Red Cross and is helping that organization identify arenas and stadiums to be used for blood-drive centers during the pandemic.

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Disney: Ponchos and Masks

One thing Disney has in abundance: Ponchos for guests to weather downpours while waiting in line for Dumbo and other iconic rides. Now, 150,000 of them are going to hospital workers who need to cover up without always resorting to personal protective equipment that's in short supply. Disney Parks has also donated 100,000 N95 masks in New York, California, and Florida.


Armani: Single-Use Overalls

Armani may be better known for high fashion, but during the pandemic, it's using its fashion knowhow to pump out overalls for health-care workers who are working with COVID-19 patients. It has also donated more than $2 million to Italian authorities and hospitals.

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Facebook: Small Business Grants

The government may be running out of cash to help small businesses, but Facebook is among the companies that have been stepping up to fill the gap. It's offering $100 million in grants and credit to adversely impacted businesses with up to 50 employees that operate near Facebook offices, including New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco.

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Hilton and Marriott: Free Hotel Rooms

Two of the nation's largest hotel chains have put empty rooms to good use during the pandemic. Hilton partnered with American Express to donate 1 million rooms for health-care workers through the end of May, while Marriott has donated $10 million in stays for doctors and nurses in coronavirus hotspots. Marriott is also allowing frequent travelers to donate their points in exchange for a cash donation to the American Red Cross, UNICEF, and other groups.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme: Free Donuts

Doctors and nurses have a sweet tooth, too. Krispy Kreme announced that it would provide up to five free dozens of its glazed doughnuts to all health-care workers every Monday through mid-May. Regular Joes who order a full-price dozen will also get an extra dozen every Saturday; Krispy Kreme is encouraging customers to drop them off at a neighbor's door (contact-free, of course) to brighten their day.


Crocs: Free Shoes

They may not be the most fashionable shoes on the market, but ask a doctor or nurse with sore feet whether they care. Crocs has stepped up to donate up to 10,000 pairs of shoes to individual health-care workers, plus another 100,000 pairs to select health-care facilities around the country.


Serta Simmons: Free Mattresses

One of the nation's most well-known mattress makers has pledged to donate 10,000 mattresses to overburdened New York City hospitals as they struggle to save lives during the pandemic. It has also offered to churn out up to 20,000 beds at its factories as long as they are needed.

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Voyce: Free Translation Services

It's hard enough to treat COVID-19 patients without a language barrier getting in the way. Translation app company Voyce has donated 100,000 minutes of services for hospitals to better communicate with non-English-speaking patients during the pandemic.

Girl Scout Cookies

Arena Analytics: Free Girl Scout Cookies

This Baltimore-based tech company has managed to help two worthy groups: Girl Scouts and health-care workers. It has been buying up all the excess Girl Scout cookies it can find (and there are plenty, since troops' public sales were canceled) then sending them in care packages to hospitals where hungry doctors and nurses can enjoy them.

Starbucks Menu Then

Uber: Free Rides and Food Deliveries

Even though it has publicly encouraged regular Uber users to "stop moving," Uber has also pledged a whopping 10 million free rides to health-care workers, plus it is feeding first responders and health-care workers with free meals from Uber Eats. In select spots, it has also waived delivery fees for meals from independent restaurants.

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Hertz: Free Car Rentals

In an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 via public transit, Hertz has provided free rental cars for thousands of New York City health-care workers to help get them to and from work throughout April.

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GE: Free Appliances

GE is coordinating with the United Way to donate "thousands of appliances" to health-care workers and first responders during the pandemic. The company has also donated N95 masks and used its 3-D printing technology to manufacture face shields.

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Unilever: Free Soap

Lathering up is still one of our best defenses against COVID-19, so Unilever is donating millions in products including soap, personal hygiene products, and cleaners to food banks and other community helpers during the pandemic. The company is also supporting small- and medium-size businesses that work with Unilever through early payments, credit plans, and other methods.

Headspace App

Headspace: Free Meditation

No one can use a few calm moments more than frazzled health-care workers right now, so the meditation app Headspace is offering them a free subscription to Headspace Plus, a collection of courses, animations, sleep exercises and more that promote relaxation and mindfulness.