With the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Mainers are facing troubling and uncertain times. The first positive test result was reported on March 12th. As of today, April 16th, we have 633 confirmed cases in the state―spanning 15 of our 16 counties―and sadly, 19 deaths. The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is gut-wrenching at 644,188 and rising. Though there is still no vaccine for COVID-19, there are a number of preventative measures recommended by the CDC to follow.
Essential Workers: Maine’s Unsung Heroes During COVID-19
While many of Maine’s residents are following safety guidelines, there are many for which these are not an option. Our essential business personnel, whether working in large corporations or small businesses, put themselves at risk daily to ensure the welfare of the general public. Our healthcare workers, first responders, postal and parcel delivery carriers, grocery, pharmacy and convenience store employees, production workers, food producers, preparers and delivery workers, and many others still at work deserve our immense gratitude for all that they do. This workforce is sustaining us and keeping our economy moving.
Out of Crisis, Comes Innovation to Keep Our Essential Workers Safe
With safety in mind, some companies have risen to the challenge in this time of crisis and altered their usual production to aid our essential employees with various needs. Here are just a few of the innovative ways Maine manufacturers, small and large, have stepped up and out of their comfort zone to help:
- Food Meets Flannel: To meet the much higher than usual demand for food, L.L. Bean has partnered with Maine’s largest food bank, Good Shepard, to sort, package and ship food to food pantries across the state. Read Story.
- From Sneakers to Face Masks: To address the significant demand for protective supplies, New Balance is planning to have all New England factories, including its three Maine locations, manufacture face masks from sneaker materials. Read Story.
- From Beer to Sanitizer: To meet the needs of the state’s hospitals, breweries and distillers, such as Rising Tide, Baxter Brewing, and Split Rock are working with the University of Maine to produce hospital-grade hand sanitizer. Read Story.
- From Backpacks to Face Shields: To help fill in the shortage gap of personal protective equipment, Flow Fold shifted its production from wallets, backpacks, and totes to manufacture face shields. Ready Story.
10 Ways to Support and Thank Our Local Heroes and Help Those in Need
In addition to larger manufacturing companies across the state shifting gears, owners of small businesses locally have also had to think outside the box to keep their businesses afloat while keeping their employees and customers safe. And many are doing it with a charitable focus in mind. Here are 10 ways to help local and statewide businesses and also support your neighbors and hometown heroes.
- Support local non-profits – More than 31,000 Mainers filed for unemployment just last week. As a result, non-profit organizations are in desperate need of assistance, now more than ever. Berman & Simmons was delighted to send an AMEX gift care to our friends at Trinity Jubilee Center to use for food and supplies. Find and support your favorite local non-profit.
- Buy gift cards – Buy gift cards at your favorite local restaurants to use for yourself later or as a “pay it forward” gesture for others to use. Be sure to call ahead for restaurant hours.
- Get take-out – Order take-out at your favorite local restaurants and follow these safety tips when you bring it home. Find take-out restaurants in Lewiston/Auburn.
- Order meals for essential workers – Order meals to be delivered to local heroes working daily to protect us. Find L/A businesses still open.
- Feed a family – The coronavirus has left many families in our community without jobs and in urgent need of groceries. The Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber has partnered with MEDCo Maine to help match families in need with financial sponsors. Learn more about The Healing Community Food Challenge.
- Spoil caregivers – Contact Hometown Nutrition and Energy and order a “tea drop” to be delivered to your favorite frontline heroes still at work (think police and fire departments, doggie daycares, emergency dispatchers and EMTs)
- Help schools – With schools closed, many kids who rely on those daily meals are now going hungry. Donate to the Emergency Fund for School Closures to help schools pay for increased meals, packaging breakfast and lunch meals, transporting the food to eligible sites and more.
- Support local farmers – COVID-19 is hitting local farming communities especially hard. Learn more about FarmDrop, a convenient way to shop for farm fresh items from select local farmers.
- Support local brewers – Local craft brewers have re-invented themselves with curbside pickup and delivery to keep their doors open. Check out these brew pubs in Lewiston/Auburn:
- Make a financial donation
Anyone who calls Maine “home” knows it’s a special place. Even our biggest cities have a way of feeling like small towns due, in part, to the people who live here and the personal connections we make with each other. During the coronavirus crisis, Mainers are finding creative ways to come together like never before, while keeping a safe distance apart.
Berman & Simmons helps people who have suffered personal injuries throughout the state. We want to thank all those local heroes now helping to keep our communities safe and our economy moving forward during this difficult time.