April 6, 2020

Business aviation companies throughout the country are lending a hand to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Wheels Up, an on-demand Part 135 charter operator, is doing its part to feed those who have suffered job losses and other hardships during the crisis.

Company CEO Kenny Dichter said he was inspired to act by his friends and business partners, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, singer-songwriter Ciara, and their recent donation of one million meals through the Feeding America program in Washington state.

Dichter recently joined Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to discuss their partnership and the company’s new initiative on the CNBC daily morning show, “Squawk Box.”

“[Houston Texans defensive end] J.J. Watt’s recent work with Feeding America, and past experience with the organization during the Hurricane Harvey crisis in Houston, also spurred me to action,” Dichter said. “Feeding America is one of the most effective organizations at getting food into the hands of people who need it most. They’ve been around for over 40 years and serve over 4 billion meals each year through food banks across the country.”

Dichter set a goal to collect 10 million meals, a number he expects to hit by April 10. However, noting that 37 million Americans face food insecurity daily, Dichter emphasized the effort will continue past the current crisis.

“With the power and passion of our Wheels Up network of over 8,000 members, investors and ambassadors, we created a new initiative, ‘Meals Up,’ led by Wheels Up and partners Russell Wilson and Ciara and the tireless team at Feeding America,” he said. “We’re already working with our Wheels Up ambassadors Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen, Serena Williams, J.J. Watt, Joey Logano, Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, as well as my good friends and partners Tim Armstrong, Joe Poulin and my lead Wheels Up director David Adelman, who are supporting and helping us mobilize our Wheels Up network.”

Wheels Up has spearheaded numerous other charity initiatives since the company was founded in 2013 through its Wheels Up Cares program supporting breast and ovarian cancer awareness, heart health and military families.

Learn more about the initiative at the Feeding America website.