It comes as the U.S. economy has suffered nearly 10 million layoffs in just the past few weeks due to the pandemic, with a record 6.6 million Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week, according to report (pdf) from the Labor Department.
“Even in ordinary times, food insecurity in American households is an important problem, and unfortunately COVID-19 is amplifying that stress significantly,” Bezos said in an Instagram post Thursday. “Millions of Americans are turning to food banks during this time.”
Bezos, the world’s richest person with an estimated net worth of more than $120 billion, said he would donate the funds to Feeding America, a nonprofit organization that is a network of more than 200 food banks that feed 46 million across the United States.
“Today, I want to support those on the front lines at our nation’s food banks and those who are relying on them for food,” Bezos said. “Feeding America will quickly distribute the funds to their national network of food banks and food pantries, getting food to those countless families who need it.”
The U.S. economy is in a temporary standstill unprecedented in modern history. The majority of businesses are shuttered as workers stay home to do their part in helping slow the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.
According to the Labor Department’s report, job cuts are mounting against the backdrop of economies in the United States and abroad that have almost certainly sunk into a severe recession as businesses have shut down across the world.
Some economists believe that even more jobs will be lost.
“A rough look at the most affected industries suggests a potential payroll job loss of over 16 million jobs,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, on Thursday. “The loss would be enough to boost the unemployment rate from roughly 3.5 percent to 12.5 percent, which would be its highest rate since the Great Depression.”
Many economists believe that by the end of April, as many as 20 million jobs could be lost—more than double that of jobs lost during the Great Recession. The unemployment rate could spike to as high as 15 percent this month, above the previous record of 10.8 percent set during a deep recession in 1982.
The United States reported more than 6,000 deaths as of the morning of April 3, with confirmed cases exceeding 245,000, according to a tracking map from Johns Hopkins University, which collates official government data. The White House estimates that as many as 240,000 people may die from COVID-19 before the pandemic is extinguished.
The Associated Press and Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.