May 8, 2020 - During tough times, communities and people rally. It’s what we do.
It is no different at Charlotte Douglas International Airport where the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the Airport operates and forced our many business partners to do the same.
Airport businesses, their employees and everyone dependent on CLT for their travel needs has had to grapple with the pandemic’s affects. Fewer people flying has led to cancelled flights. Fewer customers for the more than 100 Airport businesses has forced our partners to rethink their roles. Many Airport businesses have had to close. All have furloughed or laid off workers.
Despite that, two CLT companies are rallying to give back to the community.
HMSHost, our food and beverage concessionaire, and American Airlines, CLT’s largest air carrier, are helping to feed people so that providing meals is one less thing to worry about during these difficult times.
“The food donation program at CLT was born from a grassroots effort in our operations. A group of associates wanted to make a positive difference during these tough times,” said Antonio Tillery, senior director of HMSHost at CLT. “Fresh, ready-to-eat food not only benefits the Airport’s sustainability efforts, but, most importantly, helps feed the local community, including our very own associates and airport colleagues who have been affected by this devastating pandemic.”
Team members at American Airlines hosted a food drive at the Airport over a seven-day period and collected more than $10,000 worth of food that was donated to Camino Community Center, a Charlotte non-profit in need. With the help of HMS Host, American was also able to donate much needed perishable items that are sold in limited supplies in grocery stores.
Over the next few weeks, volunteers from American are spending their Fridays at Camino packing boxes and distributing food items to the center’s clients.
HMSHost has a record of community food connections, to include sourcing products and ingredients used in Airport restaurants from local businesses and farmers. Since the pandemic began in March, HMSHost:
- partnered with Paradies Lagardère, the Airport’s retail concessionaire, on a food drive for concessions’ associates. Furloughed employees were given bags of food and beverages.
- opened its restaurant 1897 Market a couple of times a week. The HMSHost Market offers various food items for sale at cost to all employees in the airport. The market has included hard-to-find items such as gloves, toilet paper, eggs, and flour.
- donated over 1,000 sandwiches and pastries to West Blvd Ministries. This group partners with several food banks in the area and makes sure that donations get to those in need.
- donated pallets of pastries to the Myers Park United Methodist Church food donation program to be distributed throughout Charlotte
- donated over 1,000 sandwiches and pastries to Atrium Health University and Atrium Health Pineville to help support the hardworking staff that is keeping our city safe and healthy.
- provided associates with a free meal while they are at work and a free meal to take home daily. This ensures they have something to eat when they leave the airport
“Right now, people are stretched to their limits and so are food banks trying to help those in need.” Tillery said. “The HMSHost CLT team’s resourcefulness to provide food assistance during this unprecedented time is needed now more than ever and HMSHost is proud to provide this outpouring of support.”
If you know of a CLT business partner or airport worker helping with COVID-19 relief, please tell us about it. You can reach the Aviation Department Communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.