- Uber announced Monday it is partnering with Meals on Wheels America.
- The app-based taxi company said it will donate $1 million over the next two years to the organization, including the cost of promotional codes that will allow Meals on Wheels volunteers to get free rides when they are out on deliveries.
- Uber employees will also volunteer at Meals on Wheels affiliates across the country.
Uber is teaming up with Meals on Wheels America as part of a two-year charitable partnership.
As part of the deal announced Monday, Uber is donating $1 million in cash and and rides to the charity, which delivers free meals to those in need. Uber employees will also be volunteering with Meals on Wheels.
“For us it’s an opportunity to leverage our technology and network of drivers to help an unbelievable program in a really incredible way,” said Rachel Holt, vice president in charge of Uber’s US and Canadian operations.
Uber’s donation will include promotional codes that Meals on Wheels volunteers will be able to use to get a free rides from the company’s drivers to make their deliveries. Many volunteers have time to donate but can’t afford gas or don’t have access to a car, Meals of Wheels CEO Ellie Hollander said.
Additionally, certain restaurants who offer food through the company’s UberEats app will be donating money from sales they make on Wednesday to Meals on Wheels. Uber will be promoting those restaurants in the app by collecting them in a special area under a Meals on Wheels banner.
Uber also plans to organize volunteer events with employees at some of the 5,000 Meals on Wheels affiliates around the country, where they can help package and deliver meals.
Uber’s offices and employees are spread out in different offices around the country. Employees have said Meals on Wheels is an organization they want to contribute to, Holt said.
The company’s donation comes as the population of seniors, one of the primary groups helped by Meals on Wheels, is growing – and as federal and state funding to senior meal programs is being cut, Uber noted.
But it also comes as Uber is trying to improve its image after its reputation has taken numerous hits this year. Early in the year, the company drew outrage when it sent drivers to New York’s John F. Kennedy airport in contravention of taxi drivers’ efforts to protest President Trump’s immigration ban by temporarily halting service there. Soon after, a blog post by a former female engineer charged the company of ignoring sexual harassment and fostering a sexist culture.
A subsequent investigation gave credence to the charge that the company had a toxic culture and led to the departure of numerous officials and employees, including the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick. Meanwhile, Uber has been contending with a suit by Google sister company Waymo that accused it of stealing Waymo’s intellectual property.