Sheboygan Falls, Wis.,
18:36 PM

Watching Out for One Another

Johnsonville_Festival Grocery Effort_April 2020

Johnsonville, Festival Foods Collaborate In Surprising Production & Trucking Members With Groceries

There’s no denying this pandemic has placed new demands and challenges on how we live, work and play. The challenges are very different for all of us and at Johnsonville, we’re looking for ways to be supportive, productive and safe.

Being a critical infrastructure manufacturer, our 2,000 Johnsonville members throughout the Midwest have been successfully keeping the production lines going and the trucks delivering sausages to stores throughout the U.S. and abroad – all while being innovative at implementing new processes to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The majority of our members don’t have the benefit of working from home and have been coming in to work every day, even in these stressful times. Their coworkers across the company wanted to assist, protect and show appreciation for these members, and thought taking one extra grocery shopping trip out of their schedule, could help.

“Our production and trucking members are working hard to stay safe at work, covering extra shifts, and making sure we can continue keeping our retailers’ stores stocked and their shoppers fed,” said Johnsonville CEO Nick Meriggioli about the grocery delivery effort for our Sheboygan Falls facilities. “Their schedules are tight – at home and at work – and making a grocery shopping trip carries some risk.”

So, dozens of other members organized a grocery effort for their coworkers at the main campus in Sheboygan Falls, Wis.

Festival Foods, a Wisconsin-based grocer, was quick to collaborate with Johnsonville, calling on its staff to help sort and stock 1,300 boxes of food and supplies that Johnsonville members could provide to the production (including its temporary staff) and trucking teams at each of the facilities.

“It was a fun and exciting project to be part of. It was also a good team-building activity for the Festival team,” said Kyle Kaehne, Festival’s store director in Sheboygan.

Johnsonville and Festival Foods made sure to keep the social distancing and other safety tactics in mind throughout the effort, including:

  • Allowing the groceries to sit in trailers for 72 hours, to avoid risk of virus transfer from Festival to the Johnsonville facilities;
  • Placing the boxes either on the ground for members to pick up or bringing the boxes directly to their cars.
  • All Festival and Johnsonville employees preparing and distributing boxes wore gloves.

Over a dozen Johnsonville office members volunteered to come out on all three shifts, to personally deliver these boxes to their production coworkers – and show their thanks in person.

“While we couldn’t shake hands or give a ‘high five,’ the chance to smile and wave while providing our production colleagues a sincere thank-you was the best part of this,” said Ryan Pociask, a Johnsonville vice president who was actively involved in the effort.

There are professionals on many different ‘front lines,’ doing what they can to serve and protect one another in these unprecedented times. Those working in the food sector are among that group of professionals, so be sure to say ‘thanks’ to those involved in making, transporting and stocking food, and those working each day in our grocery stores.