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3-28-20 Letters to the Tribune

By Staff | Mar 27, 2020

We have enough food

The grocery industry of the USA and particularly North Dakota is working overtime to meet the needs of our customers. The spread of COVID-19 has certainly changed the way our industry operates, but it has not stopped the cows from milking, the corn from becoming cereal and the fruit trees haven’t stopped producing. Most everything that is sold in our grocery stores is grown and processed in the United States.

Our grocery store shelves are empty because of an increase in demand from customers, not a lack of inventory. Stores are setting purchase limits on certain items to try and ensure your neighbor has a chance to purchase like products. They have changed hours of operation to restock product and sanitize their stores. Many are reaching out to employees from businesses that had to shut down to fill needed positions. Stores have indicated that advertising is set many weeks in advance and want their customers to know that in the short run some items for a particular ad may not be available. There is evidence that reusable bags could be a carrier of COVID-19 as well as other viral respiratory illnesses. Some stores may prohibit their use or ask that you bag your own. Most bags are machine washable. Cleaning followed by disinfecting is a best practice measure.

An important part of the grocery industry is our warehouse suppliers, direct store delivery companies and food manufacturers. We have been in constant contact with them and have found that they too have been stressed by the sudden increase in customer demand. As with most industries, they anticipate demand and produce enough product to satisfy the needs. COVID-19 has definitely changed the demand!

Our distribution and manufacturing partners are working overtime to meet this demand. Distribution centers are at near capacity and employees are working overtime to receive and process incoming inventory and sending out orders to retail locations. High demand items are being allocated to assure that all retailers, large and small, have a chance to purchase needed inventory. Some restaurant and institutional supply companies have offered the services of their employees to grocery wholesalers to help meet the shortage of employees. This will enable their employees to stay employed. These are trained individuals that will quickly assimilate to the grocery warehouse system. Food manufactures are looking at their product mix, are identifying the best-selling products and are ramping up production of these items. This will ensure that the distribution pipeline remains full of products that our customers are demanding.

North Dakota grocers and their industry partners are working hard to supply our customers. We ask that you shop responsibly and give the system time to catch up. We have enough food and other grocery products. We have the best farmers, manufactures, wholesalers, distributors and retail grocers in the world. We will prevail.

John Dyste, President

North Dakota Grocers Association

– submitted via the N.D. Newspaper


We are all in this together: A message from North Dakota teachers

NOTE: This message was done in collaboration between 2020 North Dakota Teacher of the Year Sara Medalen and the state’s Teachers of the Year group, and was sent via the N.D. Department of Public Instruction.

The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting all of us with unforeseen challenges. As members of the North Dakota State Teacher of the Year Chapter, we feel compelled to share our perspectives. Guided by love for our students and pride in the teaching profession, we are focusing on a statement made by Sara Medalen, the 2020 State Teacher of the Year, who was interviewed in a recent news story. While handing out lunches to students in Minot, Medalen said, “We really are all in this together.” We know it is true. We will get through this challenging time together.

As our classrooms suddenly are without walls, educators are innovating at a speed unseen in most industries. We feel pressure to “do it right” and to make the transition to distance learning as seamless as possible. We are aware that every family situation is unique, and every student has individual interests, strengths, and struggles. We understand that students and parents may be apprehensive about how this will work. Our students are on a journey of learning, and it is our life’s work to guide them. For us, it’s heartbreaking to have limited contact with students when our classrooms are empty. We know the human connections in our classrooms are crucial to a well-rounded education, and even with so many cancellations disrupting our days, those connections will not be canceled. Academics and positive relationships will continue as educators seek innovative strategies to maintain both.

It isn’t just teachers who are looking for ways to support our students. We are heartened by the ways that food service personnel, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, custodians, counselors, and administrators across the state are working to ensure that students will continue to learn and maintain classroom relationships, even when the buildings are not accessible. The greatness of many individuals shines through. We appreciate the leadership at the state and local levels that encourage exploring all ideas to meet the needs of students and staff across North Dakota. A powerful example of how the guidance of leaders enhances the hard work of individuals can be seen in the way thousands of meals are delivered to students in our cities and rural areas each day.

Our community agencies and local businesses have also come together to support our students and their families. During this time of so many unknowns, it is reassuring to have community members stepping up to provide security and opportunities. Beyond the local resources, numerous state and national educational companies are waiving fees to provide resources to enhance distance learning for teachers, students, and families.

Whether you are a teacher providing distance learning, a parent providing guidance at home, or a student dealing with so many uncertainties and changes, it is going to be okay! If we all give our very best effort, we trust it will be enough to learn amazing things, to do good for our community, and to be even stronger than we were before because we are all in this together, and together we can do great things!

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