COVID-19 Health/Wellness Midwest Produce

Regional Businesses Helping Fight War Against Covid-19

Produce Alliance, Covid-19
Chicago-area hospital personnel line up, six feet apart, waiting for boxes of fresh produce donated by Produce Alliance and Testa Produce.

Covid-19 continues to take a toll on the United States and countries across the globe. Many businesses are taking action to help their communities, whether through donations or services. In the Midwest, the Produce Alliance has started a produce giveaway for local hospitals; Drake’s Organic Spirits is producing hand sanitizer for first responders and Polar Leasing is offering backup refrigeration units where needed.


Produce Alliance supports hospital staff with a fresh produce box

Healthcare workers at a Chicago hospital recently got a donation of fresh produce from supply management company Produce Alliance LLC, the first pilot in what may become a national effort of relief during the Covid-19 pandemic.Produce Alliance, Covid-19, Testa Produce

The company teamed up with its network of produce growers and distributors to put together the produce giveaway, held at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. Using its supply chain expertise, Produce Alliance’s plan is to get boxes of high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables into the hands of frontline hospital employees as they leave their shift, making shopping one less thing they would have to worry about.

The Produce Alliance Foundation (Produce Alliance’s charitable arm) partnered with Testa Produce to make their first drop of 150 fresh produce boxes at the hospital.

“It is such an amazing feeling to support these heroes who are working around the clock to help us during this devastating time. We wanted to do something to help nourish them when they leave exhausted and take one worry off their plate,” said Produce Alliance President Melissa Melshenker Ackerman. “We were so fortunate to partner with such an amazing hospital system for our first drop. You could tell they cared so much about the people that work for them, and they wanted to make sure they did something nice for the people who give so much to the hospital and the community in such an unprecedented time.”

“As Covid-19 continues to impact our community, we are seeing an outpouring of support to our incredibly hardworking staff here at Advocate Illinois Masonic and across our health system,” said Chris Toft, VP of development at the hospital. “This very generous donation is one of many we have received and are extremely thankful for. Each means so much to our team members.”

Produce Alliance is looking to broaden its reach to give a boost to hospitals serving the critical needs of their communities, like Masonic, in neighborhoods across the country. By leveraging the desire of hospitals across the country to do right by their staff, Produce Alliance can lean into its national distribution network to quickly activate this program in almost any area where there is a need.  Interested contacts should reach out to [email protected] to find out about how to get this programming set up to benefit a hospital in your area.


Drake’s Organic Spirits to donate up to 1M ounces of hand sanitizer

Drake's Organic Spirits, Covid-19Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Drake’s Organic Spirits says it anticipates donating up to one million ounces of hand sanitizer to medical facilities, law enforcement personnel, EMTs and other first responders who answer emergency calls and place themselves in harm’s way. The sanitizer will help provide critical protection against the coronavirus crisis that has crippled the country and the world.

Consumers and other businesses are encouraged to purchase Drake’s Organic Hand Sanitizer by visiting For every ounce purchased, Drake’s will make a donation of an ounce to frontline workers fighting Covid-19.

“This is the time to step up as businesses, as neighbors and as citizens to fight Covid-19,” said Mark Anderson, founder/CEO of Drake’s Organic Spirits. “That’s why we have converted our entire Drake’s Organic Spiked Ice capacity to the production of hand sanitizer. We’ll focus on our spirits when this is over. Right now, we’re focused on doing our part to save lives.”

The conversion also allows Drake’s to continue to provide jobs during the economic downturn.

First responders, medical facilities, managed care facilities and other organizations on the front lines of the crisis can click here for details on how to apply for a donation of Drake’s hand sanitizer.

Drake’s has the ability to produce up to 20 million 2-oz. packets per month in its Las Vegas and New Orleans facilities. The Minnesota-based manufacturer of premium organic vodka and organic rum converted packaging for its Spiked Ice freeze-and-eat adult treats into individual use pouches of hand sanitizer.

Drake’s is following the guidelines provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization for the production of hand sanitizers.  Each pack includes six 2-oz. eco pouches designed to be easily opened and used to refill an existing hand sanitizer dispenser, soap pump or spray bottle. A single eco pouch contains enough product to sanitize hands on average 59 times. Other pack sizes include 300 count cases and 4,000 count bulk bins.

Drake’s Organic Spirits is the first and only spirit line in the world to be certified USDA organic, non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free, vegan and kosher. The five certifications ensure a cleaner drinking option that comes only from the highest quality organic ingredients.


Polar Leasing offers 24/7 backup refrigeration during Covid-19 crisis

Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Polar Leasing has expanded a program designed to respond to the new coronavirus crisis faced by the healthcare and retail store industries, according to President Bart Tippmann.Polar Leasing, Covid-19

“Polar Leasing has prioritized an additional 300 new walk-in refrigerator and freezer units from our manufacturer Polar King International to meet the high demand for both short- and long-term rentals in healthcare, supermarket and government facilities across the United States and Canada,” said Tippmann. “We now have expanded beyond 80 distribution depots across the United States and in some cases can deliver orders within 24 hours.

“We are an essential business due to the nature of our walk-ins being used in the food and healthcare markets. These are uncertain times and our thoughts go to all those who are touched by the coronavirus. Our goal is to use our resources to do our part to help as we all work through this together.”

According to Polar Leasing, order processing is easy. Call the customer service hotline at 866-574-4573 to reserve a unit with a digital signature. Standard 8-by-10-feet and 8-by-20-feet units are in stock, while custom sizes from 6-by-8-feet all the way up to 16-by-65-feet can be built. Once the customer determines the size needed, a free-standing walk-in unit is shipped and a roll-back truck puts the unit in place.

“Ninety percent of the time we drop it right where the customer wants it,” said Tippmann. “Or, we have fork slots in the frame so they can be moved easily. Connect the unit to your electric source and the installation is complete. When the emergency has run its course, the truck picks up the unit and returns it to the depot.”

There are advantages of using a ground-resting unit over a refrigerated truck. The NSF-approved walk-ins have a 6-inch step, as compared with the ramp-and-door configuration of trucks. The units have a fiberglass interior with lights and are dual-temp, so customers can go from a cooler to a freezer by the flip of a switch.

“Environmentally, the Polar Leasing solution is better than refrigerated trucks, which are very loud and exhaust diesel emissions,” Tippmann added. “Most importantly, the operational cost savings are substantial. If you need backup refrigeration during these challenging times, consider Polar Leasing.”

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