Local Companies Working Together During the Pandemic to Keep Food on the Table

In many ways, 2020 has been the “Year to Forget”. Our memories of empty store shelves during the early stages of the pandemic seem to be fading. However, let us not forget everything about 2020. There are shining moments to remember as we enter the New Year. Those times when we came together for the greater good of society. One of these shining moments was about how our local companies rose above all challenges so that our grocery stores could keep food on the shelves to feed us and to calm our panic.

When the pandemic hit, local manufacturing companies that work in the food supply chain were balancing their responsibility to get food to the stores while keeping their employees healthy during those critical times. As their essential workers remained busy, they wondered how they could prevent physical and mental burnout. Who would support workers when they experience pain and exhaustion from working to keep up with demand.

Worley Warehousing found that their injury prevention partnership with Balanced Fitness & Health, a Hiawatha-based physical and occupational therapy provider, was extremely beneficial.

“We have partnered with Balanced Fitness & Health since 2015, but we needed their help the most during the pandemic,” said John Klopp, safety manager at Worley Warehousing. “We were experiencing strong volumes of work because of consumer fear and panic during the pandemic. We had to keep production going, all while trying to keep employees injury free.”

“Balanced Fitness & Health came to our jobsite and motivated employees to stretch during their work shift and be proactive for their health,” said Klopp. “Besides the health & safety of our employees, we were concerned about the added stress & burnout caused by the pandemic. But, because we had Balanced Fitness & Health already in place, this created an avenue for our employees to discuss both their physical and emotional concerns during these unprecedented times.”

“It was more important than ever to be a trusted resource for employees to understand the importance of self-care techniques and lifestyle choices as they worked through the uncertainty of the pandemic,” said Melissa White, owner of Balanced Fitness & Health.

“Knowing that we are working hard to have the community’s back, it was nice to know that someone else had mine,” said Bob Van Winkle, another of Worley’s 175 employees.

As we turn to 2021, let’s remember stories like these where essential workers went above and beyond, working together, making an impact on all of our lives. Thank you to everyone at Worley for making a difference, putting your employees first, and stepping up when we needed you the most.