Extraordinary Challenges Require Extraordinary Responses
We are fortunate that our business is strong right now, but many people in the communities where we operate and across the country are hurting because of the burdens created by the pandemic.
That’s why our farmer-owners have committed to a $4 million relief plan to help our employees, communities and industry partners respond to and recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
Caring for our community has been a core part of the values we were founded on more than a century ago, and it’s still who we are today. We want to make a real impact. For us, that means supporting the people and the places that have supported us for so many years.
First and foremost, we will support our nearly 1,000 employees.
We take our role and responsibility of being part of critical infrastructure seriously, and our operations continue to be up and running so that we can help maintain a strong food supply. Nearly 700 of our employees are still physically coming to work every day at our manufacturing plants, and several hundred others are working remotely from home.
To support all our team members who continue to show the utmost dedication to our co-op, we’re expanding sick leave, offering premium pay for front-line manufacturing workers and maintaining full wages and benefits for all employees, even those who were working at our temporarily closed Tillamook Creamery visitor experience. We’ve also created a special fund to aid team members experiencing substantial financial distress due to COVID-19.
All our employees are front and center in giving back to our communities. This year, we’re doubling paid volunteer hours for employees and establishing a new employee donation matching program so together, we can support community organizations that matter to us. We will also give each of our employees and farmer-owners special coupons for free Tillamook cheese and ice cream to share with neighborhood heroes, so we can help thank the postal workers, delivery drivers, sanitation workers, health care champions and thousands of other people who kept our communities working while we all sheltered in place.
We will expand our community enrichment efforts to support nonprofits and businesses in our rural hometowns and across the state of Oregon.
Every year we invest a percentage of our profits into our three focus areas for community giving: Food Security, Healthful Children and Agricultural Advocacy.
We recognize that nonprofit organizations are critical community supports that need aid now more than ever. This year we will significantly increase the scale of our direct-to-community product donations and expand community enrichment funding to support nonprofits and community organizations severely impacted by the pandemic. At the outset, this includes immediate donations to several organizations that serve the needs of our hometown communities including:
$200,000 to the Oregon Food Bank, a longstanding partner, to address food insecurity statewide, including significant donations to the food banks in Tillamook and Morrow Counties.
$100,000 to the Oregon Community Foundation to support its relief efforts in communities across the state.
$20,000 to Tillamook County Action Resource Enterprises, Inc. (CARE) to help with rental, energy and other emergency services for low- to middle-income families in Tillamook County who have been laid off or lost wages as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
$15,000 to the Tillamook County Wellness program to help fund a new Youth Outdoor Recreation Coordinator.
$10,000 to Tillamook Early Learning Center to help keep one of the few childcare facilities in Tillamook afloat and offer scholarships to families returning to care once they reopen.
$5,000 to the Oregon State University Foundation to fund scholarships for students studying agriculture.
We know that small businesses are part of the fabric of our communities, and they too are hurting right now. We are therefore also earmarking another $500,000 to create or invest in programs that aid business revitalization efforts and support small businesses as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19. This effort will be focused on the rural Oregon communities of Tillamook and Morrow Counties, where we operate our production facilities and where so many of our farmer-owners and employees work and live.
Beyond Oregon – more to come.
Beyond our hometown communities, we also plan to provide financial and product donations to our retail, restaurant and foodservice customers nationwide to support their response efforts. And we’re working on other ways to support our industry partners in the weeks and months ahead.
We’ve built a lot of flexibility and accountability into our overall response plan, and we will learn along the way and adjust if and as needed to ensure we’re making the strongest impact we possibly can.
We are so grateful to our fans across the country who continue to support us. You have all helped make this relief plan possible.