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Unilever Initiative For Families Impacted By COVID-19 Aims To Widen Education Gap & More

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To aid struggling communities during the COVID-19 crisis, Unilever has teamed up with major retailers to tackle the current education gap, the "She-Cession," and reduced access to food and essential supplies. Although well known as the company behind a number of household brands, including Dove, Vaseline, Q-Tips, and more, Unilever also has a long tradition of giving back to local communities. And through its United for America initiative, Unilever will support families struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic by donating $5 million in goods and services.

"The pandemic continues to take a toll on education, jobs, and access to food," Unilever North American President Fabian Garcia said in a recent statement released by the company. "At Unilever, we feel it is our responsibility to do all we can to help struggling communities who are feeling this most. We know that we are stronger together, so we're proud to unite with some of our largest retail partners across the country to help create more impact."

Since launching its United for America initiative in March when the coronavirus pandemic first began in the United States, Unilever has donated $20 million in goods and services, according to the company. Its most recent donation of $5 million brings the total to $25 million.

To tackle some of the challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, Unilever has partnered with retailers like Dollar General, Vons, Pavillions, Albertsons, HEB, and others to support nine U.S. cities (Houston, Minneapolis, Fort Wayne, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Detroit, and New York City) and the Carolinas.

The goal, according to Unilever, is to support communities with especially vulnerable populations including high numbers of cash-strapped families, women-owned businesses, and large Black and Hispanic populations. In conjunction with its retail partners, Unilever said it plans to make donations to local food banks, contribute valuable items like computers and data plans to families, and offer financial support to community organizations doing essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To address the education gap, Unilever and its partners will support Boys & Girls Clubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Southern California that are working to provide students with the resources they need, such as access to laptops and Wi-Fi. Unilever has said it will also support other local non-government organizations seeking to improve education access and close the digital divide.

Along with improving access to food and essential supplies and closing the education gap, Unilever is also hoping to address the so-called "She-Cession," a nickname given to the disproportionate economic impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on working women (such as the high number of job losses among women, which wiped out nearly a decade of women's gains in the workforce, according to NBC News). To do this, Unilever has partnered with Luminary to provide women-owned businesses with resources that will enable them to pivot and grow their businesses despite the pandemic. These resources will reportedly include annual fellowships, expert-led, virtual small business boot camps, and a national Recovery Summit and pitch competition, according to Unilever.

"Six months into the pandemic, the needs have never been greater," Unilever said in a company press release. "The core of this initiative is tackling challenges facing Americans in priority areas such as the impact of the widening education gap, access to food and essential supplies, and the She-cession."

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.