How Anaheim, Georgia Expo and Sahara Las Vegas Are Lending Helping Hands
In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best in humanity, including those in the events industry. Over the past several weeks, more and more destinations, event companies and venues have been jumping in to support the fight against the virus. Here are some examples of compassion in action to brighten your week:
Visit Anaheim and Partners Supporting Community
From donating supplies and food to sharing messages of hope and encouragement, stakeholders within the city of Anaheim, California, have teamed up to serve as valuable resources during this time.
Anaheim Convention Center continues to serve as a logics and storage center for donated supplies, while the city’s Emergency Operations Center arranges distribution to vulnerable residents. Several area hotels have donated toilet paper, hand sanitizer, gloves and other essential supplies to the EOC, with Anaheim Resort Transportation helping to transport these much-needed items to the convention facility until they can be distributed.
“[Through] Anaheim Convention Center’s [actions], we are helping needy seniors, families and the homeless through this difficult time,” said Mike Lyster, spokesperson for the city of Anaheim. “Our convention center has risen to the challenge of coronavirus not just by postponing events, but by serving as our logistical hub for donations and community support initiatives.”
Visit Anaheim recently teamed up with Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and ART to deliver a bus filled with surgical masks to first responders at Anaheim Fire & Rescue. Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu was on-site to accept the 1,500-mask donation to help emergency crews safely service local residents in need.
In late March, Honda Center and Second Harvest Foodbank of Orange County launched a weekly Saturday drive-through food bank for vulnerable local families. In one day alone, the operation was able to provide 4,000 bags of food. Soon after, Honda Center, the Anaheim Ducks NHL team and the Los Angeles Angels MLB team collectively donated additional supplies to the effort, including pallets of non-perishable food and thousands of rolls of toilet paper.
The team at Visit Anaheim also lent a hand at a local food bank, with more than a dozen part-time staff helping out on the first two Saturdays of April.
To learn more about Visit Anaheim and partners’ Response and Recovery COVID-19 task force, go here.
Georgia Expo Team Sewing 80,000+ Masks Per Week
To help keep their businesses afloat while aiding in the COVID-19 relief effort, some event suppliers have shifted gears to produce much-needed medical and disaster relief products, and Suwanee, Georgia-based Georgia Expo is no exception. As a manufacturer of pipe, drape and equipment for trade shows and events, the company pivoted in late February to begin creating pipe-and-drape rooms and walls for makeshift hospitals across the U.S.
According to Amanda Gray, vice president of sales and marketing for Georgia Expo, the company supplied thousands of these items over a 4-6 week period to disaster relief companies and service contractors setting up temporary medical relief stations at the Boston Convention Center, Javits Center and other event and conference venues.
“Once we noticed the need starting to dwindle for those, we looked at our capabilities and decided to use our sewing department to make fabric masks,” Gray said. “We hooked up with a few companies who were looking for surplus sewing; that quickly grew and we found ourselves needing to hire a second shift to keep up with the demand.”
With Georgia and other states starting to reopen businesses and re-start their economies, the demand for face masks from local businesses in particular has skyrocketed, Gray explained. The company is now sewing approximately 80,000 masks per week, with plans to produce more than 100,000 per week, she added.
As a result of all this new business, the company has been able to retrain 80 percent of its staff from other areas of the company to sew masks, has hired an additional 40 seamstresses and is actively seeking 30 more employees to help with the massive effort.
“Our goal through this entire shift has been to maintain our staff’s employment and health benefits,” Gray said. “We’re also trying to be good citizens by setting an example as an American manufacturing company that is pushing through and getting these needed products to market quickly.”
SAHARA Las Vegas Partners with World Central Kitchen
In late April, SAHARA Las Vegas teamed up with Nevada Restaurant Association and Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen to feed more than 2,000 healthcare workers and 400 first responders across the Las Vegas Valley.
The culinary team from SAHARA Las Vegas, including Executive Chef Alex Pitts from Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, prepared and delivered fresh meals to more than 20 OptumCare Nevada healthcare and UMC Quick Care locations as well as the Henderson Police Department.
According to Sahara Las Vegas officials, the food was carefully produced and distributed following guidelines and protocols established by WCK, which has a team of “food first responders” who mobilize to get meals to those who need them most.
The nonprofit is activating hundreds of restaurants and kitchens across the country to feed vulnerable communities as well as medical professionals fighting on the front lines of the pandemic.
Founded in 2010 and known throughout the world for helping to feed communities in times of crisis and beyond, the WCK has so far served more than 2 million fresh meals in response to the current health crisis.
To learn more about SAHARA Las Vegas’ community efforts, go here.