To help out communities in need during the coronavirus pandemic, KFC is donating 1 million pieces of fried chicken across America. The free additional chicken supply will be distributed to all of the nation's approximately 4,000 KFC franchises.

The Yum! Brands (YUM -0.27%) owned chain is giving franchisees wide latitude to choose what to do with the free chicken, enabling them to tailor their programs to local conditions. Some of the suggestions include giving zero-cost meals to medical personnel or first responders, donating chicken to local hunger relief organizations, or just handing out free chicken to people simply to create positive feelings. The company says individual restaurants can use the relief for "whatever their hometown needs most."

A bucket of fried chicken with fries and condiments in the background.

Image source: Getty Images

In its press release announcing the giveaway, KFC pointed out other steps it has taken to help mitigate the effects of coronavirus, adding to relief efforts by its parent company. These include giving franchisees a two-month royalty grace period to cushion the impact of operating on a take-out-and-delivery-only model. Employees will receive special sick leave if they are infected with COVID-19 and can qualify in some cases for hardship grants from a company medical relief fund.

KFC also donated $400,000 to Blessings in a Backpack, which is helping feed children who are at risk of going hungry because they are no longer receiving school meals. Coronavirus testers and hospital staff have also received free meals in some regions.

Assuming that the donated food in this latest relief effort is distributed evenly to all 4,000 restaurants, each will have around 250 pieces of free chicken at its disposal.