Businesses step up social responsibility during pandemic

April 10, 2020
Idaho hand sanitizer
By Regence

Pictured above: Distilled Resources Incorporated of Rigby, Idaho, has pivoted from vodka to hand sanitizer production. 

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has placed unprecedented strain on businesses the world over. Many are responding by adjusting their operations to function under these trying circumstances, as well as elevating their corporate social responsibility efforts to help impacted people in their communities. While Regence has long prided itself on being a community leader, including most recently with additional investments to address COVID-19 impacts, the recent outpouring of unified support across our footprint has been overwhelming.

“We’ve been inspired by the innovation and compassion organizations are showing as responsible corporate citizens,” said Andrew Over, Regional Market Vice President for Regence. “We’re hearing new stories every day about how our customers are stepping up for their employees, customers, neighbors and others in need.”

Here are a few of those stories.

At hospitals, clinics and urgent care centers everywhere, health care workers are facing an acute shortage of surgical masks and other protective gear that help prevent transmission of COVID-19. Recognizing this need, Roseburg Forest Products donated 500 N95 masks to health care workers in Oregon, and is urging other businesses to do the same. The Dillard, Ore. company of 2,400 strong continues to operate during the state-mandated stay home order, as wood products manufacturing is deemed an essential industry. Many employees wear N95 masks on a daily basis for protection against inhalation of fine particles that are by-products of wood manufacturing. 

Other businesses are both reorienting entire production processes and stepping up in similar fashion. SanMar, an Issaquah, Wash. based clothing manufacturer, has joined with a national coalition of textile and apparel manufacturers to fast-track production of medical face masks around the country. The company plans to manufacture masks at its New Jersey plant, and supplement the plant’s capacity by recruiting volunteers to sew at home to further supplement supply for those who need them.

SanMar1
Employees at SanMar are manufacturing medical face masks for health care workers.

In response to recommendations for everyone to cleanse their hands frequently, Distilled Resources Incorporated of Rigby, Idaho, has pivoted from vodka to hand sanitizer production. The 32-year-old company employs four large tanks that hold about 1,800 gallons each day. From there, it takes the high-proof alcohol and blends it with hydrogen peroxide, water, glycerin and other denaturants to make its Dr. Inc. hand sanitizer. The resulting product exceeds federal guidelines for sanitizing alcohol content. Impressively, the company was able to make the shift to hand sanitizer production within three weeks.

Ski resorts and other seasonal attractions are among the businesses hardest hit by states’ stay home orders. At Snowbird Ski Resort, located in the mountains bordering Salt Lake City, suspending operations for potentially the remainder of the ski season has been particularly hard on the resort’s employees. But it also created an opportunity: the resort’s hotel and restaurant donated 10,000 pounds of food to employees displaced by the sudden suspension of operations, including eggs, cheese, milk, bread, herbs, veggies and fruits.

snowbird

Many workers in essential industries are serving longer shifts, and if they need another reason to fuel up on coffee along the way, Dutch Bros. Coffee has one. The Grants Pass, Ore. based specialty coffee retailer has pledged to donate 100% of its April profits to First Responders First, a fund dedicated to supporting health care workers. The profits will go toward providing critical supplies, equipment and resources to those on the front lines of fighting the pandemic. Dutch Bros operates drive-through stores in seven states including Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Do you know of any businesses who are giving back during this unprecedented time of need? Please share your stories with us on social media by tagging Regence on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, and we may share them with others in this space.

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