Provender Voices: Reports from the Front Lines

Abigail R. Harris
March 31st 2020

by Abigail Harris – Executive Director, Provender Alliance

Food is a necessity, not a luxury, and Provender members are on the front lines as essential workers.

Last week Provender took an informal survey and asked members about their experiences, both from a logistics perspective and a personal perspective. Many took time from their busy lives to share what’s going on for them.

Reports include:

“Staff are crazy stressed but have been very supportive of each other – if they don’t get COVID, we’re worried about burnout, especially with store managers and department managers. We haven’t had to lay off any staff, although we’ve closed one of our locations (our coffee shop is shut down, and production is ramping down) and have plenty for staff to fill our needs. Staff are being repurposed based on their skills and the current store needs. If staff want to work, there are hours for them. We are not hiring, just cross-training staff.That being said, we do have several high-risk staff that are unable to work right now.We installed Plexiglas sneeze guards at all registers last week and they are AWESOME, as is our daily 8-9am high-risk shopper hour every day. We’ve had record sales, and and working feverishly on an online ordering system so we can cut down traffic in stores. “

“Delivery trucks are erratic, not bringing all of what we ordered, people are scared, they are food insecure and so are hoarding food, it seems (and toilet paper!)”

“I am in my mid 50’s, in good health and have a strong immune system, however I still go through waves of anxiety about getting sick. Most of the time, however, I’m excited to be here for the community and to know my job has so much meaning right now. I’m hoping this understanding continues on after the crisis, that people realize how important a small neighborhood store is to the community.”  

Hear what other members are going through right now by clicking 

A big thanks to everyone who shared. And much gratitude to our whole Provender community out on the front lines. Be well and stay healthy.

Abigail Harris
Executive Director, Provender Alliance