United Airlines is teaming up with Listos California – a campaign by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services that helps vulnerable Californians prepare for disasters – to help address the significant health risks faced by older state residents isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Approximately 300 of the company's employees in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose will dedicate their time to make tens of thousands of wellness calls to vulnerable Californians each week, checking in on them while providing a much-needed personal connection during this time of crisis.
"Listos California is delighted to connect United Airlines employees, highly trained in customer service, with isolated older adults in need of a calm and friendly voice, and competent direction to programs and services. The 'California For All' spirit, exemplified by the United workers' compassionate service, truly elevates the culture of community that this pandemic has inspired," said Karen Baker, Co-chair of Listos California Emergency Preparedness Campaign.
United is a founding partner of this innovative Social Bridging Project, which is being launched in partnership with Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) trained volunteers affiliated with local public safety agencies, and gerontology students at California State University, Sacramento. Governor Gavin Newsom recently called for support connecting with older residents through his "Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In." initiative, led by the California Department of Aging.
"United Airlines reached out to us [and said] we have a workforce that would be perfectly positioned to be able to make wellness calls … so we want to thank United Airlines. We love the idea that the folks that we usually check in with for our travel arrangements will be checking in with our seniors and older Californians [as part of this initiative]," said Governor Gavin Newsom.
Today's announcement is an extension of a broader partnership between United and the state of California, including efforts to provide free, round-trip flights for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals from across the country to help treat patients in this time of unprecedented need. United has flown more than 100 healthcare volunteers into and out of California to areas most impacted by COVID-19 since the partnership was launched two weeks ago.
"Our shared purpose at United is connecting people and uniting the world, and during these unprecedented times that has never been more important. United employees make caring connections with travelers across the globe every day, and while there are fewer people in the skies, that commitment to our customers, and their well-being, has never been stronger. We are profoundly grateful to all of our compassionate employees who will be using their experience and training to bring some much-needed comfort to our state's most vulnerable residents during these difficult times," said Janet Lamkin, United Airlines President, California.
Beyond the free medical flights and its involvement in the Social Bridging Project, the airline's employees have been actively involved in finding other ways to support communities in need, including:
- Volunteering with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, at the emergency distribution site at College of San Mateo.
- Donating more than 2,400 dental kits, ear plugs, eye shades, hygiene items, socks and tissues to Samaritan House San Mateo, Larkin Street Youth Services, and USO.
- Donating 300 amenity kits to frontline medical personnel at the University of California – San Francisco.
- Donating 59lbs of food from the United Club and Sodexo to the Health Care Foundation for Ventura County.
- Donating more than 2,000 pillows from its Economy Class cabins to Bay Area nonprofits.
- Operating more than 500 cargo charter flights that have moved over 18.7M lbs of cargo (including PPE, medical equipment, mail and other general cargo).
- Operating nearly 100 repatriation flights returning nearly 17,000 people home who were stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.