How processors are supporting communities during the COVID-19 pandemic
Companies and organizations of all sizes have found creative ways to help their communities
With people out of jobs and income and with hospital and medical communities in need of supplies, people are wondering where their next meal is coming from, and many food companies, distributors, retailers and equipment suppliers around the world have responded to the call to help in any way they can. Government organizations are participating as well.
Here's a look at how some of those companies and organizations are helping others.
Angelic Bakehouse: The sprouted whole-grain, better-for-you bread manufacturer, announces its newest initiative: Loaf You. Through this program, Angelic Bakehouse will donate up to 20,000 loaves to Feeding America organizations across Wisconsin.
“As the impact of the coronavirus grew, we quickly identified the need to support local organizations with donations of our bread,” says founder and CEO of Angelic Bakehouse, Jenny Marino. “From there, we knew we could drive an even bigger impact and are excited to launch the Loaf You donation program. This continues our commitment to providing nourishing food to those who need it most while also providing a conduit for our community to join us in giving back, as we are all truly in this together.”
Angelic Bakehouse will match every purchase of a new Donate A Loaf product on its website, with two loaves then going to Feeding America. The company intends to scale this program over the duration of this global crisis and hopes to help up to 20,000 Milwaukee-area families get bread over the next few months. Angelic Bakehouse also encourages other local food manufacturers to donate when and where they can.
Chicken of the Sea: As one of the world’s largest seafood companies, Chicken of the Sea has a long-standing commitment to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible way to bring consumers healthy, responsibly sourced seafood. In response to the challenging times presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicken of the Sea has donated more than half a million servings of canned tuna, salmon and other protein-packed products to hunger relief organizations helping vulnerable populations within the local communities where the company operates.
“At Chicken of the Sea, we believe that nobody should ever have to miss a meal, and our long-standing sustainability commitment involves supporting the communities in which we live and work,” says Craig Rexroad, communications director North America, Thai Union. “This service to both our communities and our consumers has been a tenant of our business for more than one hundred years and is a foundational pillar of our SeaChange initiative. Now more than ever, these groups need the crucial protein our products are able to provide.”
Food Lion: The retailer is donating $3.1 million, with the majority being earmarked to feed those who are in need right now and to help its neighbors who are significantly affected by the pandemic. “At Food Lion, our customers and associates who are part of the towns and cities we serve, are at the heart of everything we do and now, more than ever, we want to make sure we care for and nourish them during this time,” says Meg Ham, Food Lion President.
The $3.1 million dollar donation consists of the following: $500,000 to fund medical research at UNC Health for potential treatments and vaccines; $600,000 to support local food bank partners, an additional $1 million (equivalent to 10 million meals) to Food Lion’s hunger relief platform and $1 million to Lion’s Pride Foundation, an associate emergency care fund to support those children in need of food, seniors on fixed incomes as well as those who have been laid off.
Iconic Protein: Small businesses like ICONIC Protein, owned by Billy Bosch, are doing their part in giving back to the community in these trying times. Last week, the company dropped off 1,000 lbs. of protein (10,000 servings) to local food banks, sent 200 servings to an Idaho hospital and made donations to healthcare providers.
Industrial Magnetics: In direct response to the Coronavirus pandemic, Industrial Magnetics, Inc.(IMI) has developed a new, hands-free door opener that allows people to open latch-less doors without using their fingers, arms, or clothing. The company has also announced that 100% of profits from the sales of the new device will be donated to local food pantries in Boyne City, MI and their surrounding communities.
The Foot-Pull Door Opener is attached to the bottom of a door and allows users to gently pull open doors using the sole of their shoe—eliminating the need to touch potentially contaminated door surfaces and helping to stop the further spread of germs and bacteria.
The company has also devised a way for the Foot-Pull to work on latching, metal doors with lever-style handles by incorporating their “J-Hook” magnetic assembly. The J-hook product attaches magnetically to the door and holds the handle in the open position, converting the door into a “latchless” style that can now be used in conjunction with the foot-pull.
Sir Gary Kong: Global Hero Foundation President Sir Gary Kong has donated 52,000 face masks to New York City hospitals, workers and non-profits. Kong, who is also president of Classic New York Beer and The 1 Wine, said “In difficult times it’s important for people to pull together. As an American who immigrated from China at age 16, I am honored to be able to help. I am asking my fellow Chinese Americans to donate medical supplies to their local hospitals, workers and nonprofits so our front line workers can be protected while they labor on our behalf. With a little effort, we can all do our part to beat the coronavirus in America and throughout the world.”
NIST: The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has opened a funding opportunity for rapid, high-impact projects that support the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using funds appropriated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020, NIST will award these grants through the NIST Manufacturing USA National Emergency Assistance Program with no requirements for cost matching.
Funding will be awarded to eligible Manufacturing USA® institutes, a network of 14 public-private partnerships that work with academic and private sector manufacturing organizations on research and development and manufacturing skills training. Each institute focuses on a particular advanced manufacturing specialty such as biofabrication, 3D manufacturing or advanced functional fabrics.
NuCal Foods: A Northern California distributor of eggs from local family farms, NuCal Foods, will be donating 6 million eggs to local California foodbanks and nonprofits and their partner agencies of pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters who serve thousands of people in need. In a community effort, NuCal is working with multiple partners to distribute the eggs, which are frozen in 5-gallon containers.
“No one should go hungry during this challenging Covid-19 emergency. With school closures and job losses, thousands of Californians will depend on local nonprofits for help,” says Dave Crockett, President of NuCal Foods. “Many children depend on school lunches as their primary nutrition for the day. We want to support the non-profit organizations that are filling the gap for those most vulnerable in our local community.”
Olympia Coffee Roasting Company: Feeling the need to help its employees weather these tough times, the suburban Seattle, Washington company got creative and released a new coffee called Tip Jar. The entire proceeds from the sale of each 12-oz. bag of this single-origin coffee from Peru will be pooled and disbursed to staff as a way to assist with financial burdens experienced as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. You can help by ordering a bag coffee right from the company Tip Jar website. Enjoy the coffee, knowing you’ve helped people in need.
Rogue Ales & Spirits: The distiller is producing and packaging hand sanitizer at its distillery in Newport, Oregon to donate to local emergency response and public safety officials. Rogue’s “Helping Hand” hand sanitizer is made with 80% ethanol, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide and distilled water and packaged in 375 ml, 4 oz and 16 oz bottles. FDA changed its guidelines on March 18 to give distilleries permission to start making hand sanitizer for distribution as long as they were abiding by the formula outlined by the World Health Organization. This change allowed Rogue and distilleries around the country to make hand sanitizer because of the shortage.
“There’s a massive shortage of so many life-saving supplies right now and we wanted to do something to help,” says Brian Pribyl, head distiller of Rogue Ales & Spirits. “As a distillery, we make alcohol every day, so a hand sanitizer was an obvious way to help.”
Roquette: At a time when the shortage of hydro-alcoholic disinfectant gel is hitting many countries around the world, Roquette, a global supplier of plant-based ingredients and a pioneer of plant proteins, has adapted one of its pilot lines at its site in Lestrem, France, to manufacture an hydro-alcoholic disinfectant solution. The production started in late March, and the first shipment has been sent, free of charge, to the Lille University Hospital Center, to the French Blood Donors Organization and to other local health facilities, in coordination with the “Hauts-de-France Regional Health Agency” and the local authorities.
Smithfield Foods, Inc.: The processor has designated more than $3 million in cash and in-kind donations, including four million servings of protein, to support communities across America during the country’s response to COVID-19 (coronavirus). As part of the donations, Smithfield and its family of brands have launched the “Good Food Challenge” to aid Feeding America and its nationwide network of food banks.
Smithfield’s “Good Food Challenge” welcomes the public to join the company and its brands in support of Feeding America and its nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million people. With a goal of $1 million in additional donations, this campaign will provide up to 10 million meals to aid the efforts of food banks across the country during this time of increased need. Amid school and business closures and the sharply rising unemployment rate, food banks are essential to feeding the millions of people that rely on food assistance programs every day.
“During these challenging times for our country and fellow Americans, Smithfield is taking a multipronged approach to respond to COVID-19,” says Keira Lombardo, executive vice president, Corporate Affairs and Compliance for Smithfield Foods. “In addition to supporting our more than 40,000 U.S. employees on our farms and in our facilities, thousands of family farmers and other partners in our supply chain, we also have a responsibility to help our communities as we weather this health and economic storm together.”
Tetra Laval Group: To support the global response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Tetra Laval Group is donating 10 million euros to various voluntary organizations supporting the health care systems across the countries where the company operates.
While maintaining important measures to ensure the health and safety of its employees, the Tetra Laval Group which comprises Tetra Pak, Sidel and DeLaval, is fully committed to play its part in ensuring uninterrupted food supplies during these difficult times.
Chinese design industry helps Italy with masks: Thanks to the mobilization of the entire Chinese design world and furnishing industry, and the crucial input of VNU Exhibitions Asia (organizers of the Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai along with FLA China), FederlegnoArredo and the Salone del Mobile.Milano have collected 545,000 masks (surgical masks and types FFP2, FFP3, KN95 and N95) at the Italian Embassy in Beijing, which will be delivered to the Italian Red Cross—which will distribute them amongst the health facilities most in need of immediate help.
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