While retailers face a myriad of challenges brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19), many are also wondering, “how can I help?”
That was one of the audience questions posed in this week’s episode of RIS’ #CurbThePanic webinar series. Some advice doled out by Lora Cecere, founder, Supply Chain Insights, was to mobilize to feed healthcare workers during this trying time. Sandeep Dadlani, chief digital officer, Mars, Inc. noted that donated masks can’t show up in pallets at healthcare facilities and companies can call their local county to see if they need help redistributing supplies.
To continue the conversation, RIS takes a look at how Starbucks, True Value Company, and Ashley HomeStore are finding ways to lend a hand during the coronavirus pandemic.
Starbucks employees have found ways to support responders on the front line of the COVID-19 outbreak, prompting Starbucks to announce it will offer free coffee to front line responders. Through May 3, any customer who identifies as a front-line responder to the COVID-19 outbreak will receive a tall brewed coffee (hot or iced) at no charge. In addition, The Starbucks Foundation will donate $500,000 to support U.S. front-line responders with equal donations to Direct Relief to support the delivery of personal protective equipment and essential medical items and to Operation Gratitude to deliver 50,000 care packages and handwritten letters to first responders and health care workers.
True Value Company is pivoting operations to produce hand sanitizer. The wholesaler, which has one of the largest paint manufacturing facilities in the country, is converting part of its space to begin the production of hand sanitizer and cleaning products to help aid in the nationwide shortage. The plant, located in Cary, IL, will ramp up production of tens of thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer however, the first several thousand gallons will be donated to True Value hardware stores across the country to arm its employees against contracting COVID-19 while they serve customers. The product is scheduled to be shipped to stores in early to mid-April. As the company sources more raw materials, it plans to quickly increase production to help ease the public's need.
In addition to hand sanitizer, the company is also manufacturing essential cleaning and sanitizing products such as hand soap, all-purpose cleansers with and without bleach, and degreasing cleanser. These products are quickly being produced to meet retailers' demand to help keep their stores a safe shopping environment for customers.
"In state after state, hardware stores have been declared 'essential' and permitted to stay open," said John Hartmann, president and CEO. "During these unprecedented times, we're proud to do our part to help make a difference and get the much-coveted hand sanitizer onto True Value store shelves as quickly as we can."
Furniture retailer Ashley HomeStore donated 100 new beds in partnership with the City of Tampa, FL, and Catholic Charities of St. Petersburg to provide Tampa's vulnerable population with a place to shelter.
An Ashley HomeStore truck drove from Ecru, MS, to Tampa and unloaded 100 brand new mattresses and bed frames at Hillsborough Hope, a temporary camp serving those most vulnerable to COVID-19. The site includes 100 tents, mobile shower trailers, a mobile laundromat and six portable toilets. Its residents will get three meals a day and, if needed, medical treatment.
"Our community came together on this mission to supply potentially life-saving resources to individuals that have nowhere else to go,” said Mayor Jane Castor. Thanks to Catholic Charities and our generous community partners, 100 homeless individuals will have a place to sleep at night, a place to shower, and a place to hunker down—protecting them and the rest of our community from the spread of COVID-19. I believe everyone deserves a safe place to stay during these uncertain times, and the sooner we start taking care of each other, the sooner we can get through this together.