If you believe the story of the first Thanksgiving, the French weren’t there. But French container shipping company CMA CGM has gotten involved in the most American of holidays in a big way this year — by feeding more than 35,000 U.S. residents.
“CMA CGM has a long tradition of giving back to the communities we serve,” said Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM America, in a statement. “There is no doubt that COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how all of us will experience Thanksgiving this year.”
The CMA CGM Group joined with the Port of Los Angeles and the LA Port Police to distribute 2,000 turkeys donated by the container carrier over the weekend. CMA CGM also is donating 300 prepared meals to three harbor-area homeless shelters on Thanksgiving Day.
CMA CGM said it would deliver a total of 10,000 turkeys to U.S. cities “heavily impacted in 2020.”
Turkey distributions began Friday in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to assist residents in the hurricane-ravaged region. That was followed by distributions in Houston, LA and Nashville, Tennessee. Turkeys were also passed out in Norfolk, Virginia, where CMA CGM’s U.S. headquarters is located. And a refrigerated container was loaded to support the Marina Cartage turkey distribution in Chicago.
The Lake Charles and Houston distributions were coordinated by CMA CGM subsidiary CEVA Logistics, which also provided U.S. ground transportation for each site.
In addition to LA, CMA CGM is donating meals in coordination with the Port of Virginia in Norfolk, the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) in Charleson and the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) in Savannah.
CMA CGM said charitable organizations helping with the initiatives included the United Way, The Salvation Army, Savannah Feed the Hungry, USO/Turkeys for Troops, Houston Food Bank and Logistics Victory Los Angeles (LOVLA).
Feed the Hungry, GPA and CMA CGM partnered to provide Thanksgiving dinner essentials in a drive-thru event Tuesday afternoon in Savannah.
CMA CGM worked with SCPA and The Salvation Army of Charleston to distribute more than 500 Thanksgiving meals Monday to those in need in the Lowcountry.
“The pandemic has caused hardships for so many and it is very meaningful to the South Carolina Ports team to support our community in partnership with the CMA CGM Group and The Salvation Army. We hope these meals provide a little comfort and happiness for families during Thanksgiving,” SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome said.
Over the past several months, CMA CGM has aided U.S. residents with a variety of critical supplies, including refrigerated containers with generators sent to Louisiana communities impacted by Hurricane Laura and firefighting equipment and storage containers to support relief efforts during the recent California wildfires.
In late May, CMA CGM donated 200,000 respirator face masks to LOVLA.
Aldridge said at the time that CMA CGM was “absolutely committed to help the U.S. recover from the effects of this pandemic.”
It hasn’t exactly been a rosy year for CMA CGM either. In September, it was the victim of a ransomware attack. In early August, a CMA CGM employee was among those killed in a massive explosion at the Port of Beirut.
CMA CGM serves 19 U.S. ports with 34 services and 93 weekly calls. The CMA CGM Group has more than 12,000 U.S.-based employees.
“CMA CGM plays a critical role in driving the U.S. economy forward and it is an honor to be able to give back to communities across America, especially during such a challenging time,” Aldridge said. “While COVID-19 has fundamentally shifted how many American families will celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we are very proud to be providing a bit of home to those in need this holiday season by donating turkeys and special Thanksgiving meals nationwide.”