Michigan Sugar Makes Supply Donations to Hospitals

Company plans on continuing to work through coronavirus crisis

Published online: Apr 06, 2020 News Robert Creenan
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Source: Huron Daily Tribune

Michigan Sugar is doing its part in making sure health care professionals have the materials to combat COVID-19.

The Bay City-based beet sugar processor has been donating excess personal protective equipment its employees use to hospitals across Eastern Michigan to make sure health care providers have the necessary resources.

This past Friday, Michigan Sugar donated 80 N95 masks, 370 pairs of safety glasses, and 550 pairs of gloves to Scheurer Hospital in Pigeon.

Other places Michigan Sugar has donated include:

  • 280 masks and 10 dozen safety glasses to McLaren Port Huron Hospital
  • 36 masks and 96 pairs of safety glasses to McLaren Caro Region
  • 300 masks and a case of safety glasses to Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw
  • 160 masks and seven dozen safety glasses to Hill & Dales in Cass City
Rob Clark, the director of communications and community relations for Michigan Sugar, said they started rounding up masks, gloves, and glasses in the past week as workers rallied to go through their storage areas to find extras.

“I’ve heard hospitals described as war zones,” Clark said. “They need to have it (these supplies) on the front lines.”

Clark also said that this would be the only such donation Michigan Sugar would make, as the company’s workers still need supplies to do their work.

“This type of equipment is very hard to acquire,” Clark said. “It’s important for companies that have extras to donate.”

Clark said that Michigan Sugar, like all other food manufacturers, is listed by the Department of Homeland Security as a critical industry during this COVID-19 pandemic, so its employees are still slicing sugarbeets to make their food products.

The workers would normally be finished slicing sugarbeets by now, but due to a late harvest caused by heavy rainfall in 2019, they plan on continuing to work until April 9.

“Sugar is in high demand, so we have a responsibility to keep going,” Clark said. “We are rising to the challenge. Our employees have been unbelievable.”

None of the workers for Michigan Sugar have been let go due to COVID-19, but Clark said the company has instituted safety precautions based on the Centers for Disease Control recommendations and are in constant contact with their employees about them.

Clark said that two weeks ago, the first sugarbeet seeds for 2020 were planted and the growing season will go on as usual.

“The cycle continues,” Clark said.