Since January, Kathy Fulton has been tracking the novel coronavirus with trepidation.
“We saw what was happening in Asia and asked ourselves, ‘If the ports shut down and the warehousing and the manufacturing shuts down in China, what’s that going to do to the world?’”
Now living, breathing and working through the answers to these queries as they evolve both closer to home and globally, the executive director of the American Logistics Aid Network maintains COVID-19 has impressed unprecedented volume on the humanitarian organization that connects disaster relief organizations and other non-profits with supply chain requirements they need most.
Fulton said it was beyond busy with the constant barrage of information in the beginning days.
“There were a couple of months when there were really, really long days. Now there are just long days,” Fulton said, noting that the month of July proved to be every bit as busy as the preceding months. “But it is awesome to know that there is a community standing beside you with the associations and all of their members who we can call on and say we have this request for support.
“We don’t always have a direct connection. Who do you know, in your network, who’s one of your members who may be able to support it? It’s been really fascinating to have that level of partnership and that level of engagement.”
While Hurricane Katrina was the catalyst to initiate the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) supply chain network of aid to communities affected by crisis in 2005, Fulton said the scale of that catastrophic event just doesn’t even compare.
“Katrina was literally a watershed moment before changing disaster response or changing business continuity plans for a lot of organizations, but it was nothing like the global disruption that the coronavirus has caused.”
Among other recent efforts, ALAN has aided food banks in their efforts to provide meals to individuals, and have since seen a multiplier effect.
“We have an instance where one organization normally was providing 200 food boxes a week. We just helped them find a refrigerator trailer and they served 1,100 families in just one day.”
In addition, Fulton estimates the ALAN network has donated more than 30,000 transportation miles to date to deliver tons upon tons of food to those in need as a direct result of the crisis surrounding COVID-19. While figures are being tabulated, she said a price tag can’t adequately illustrate the value of that service to the community.
“Whatever the transportation rate is per mile these days, and I know it’s fluctuated wildly over the past few months, doesn’t account for what the people who are on the receiving end of that get,” Fulton said.
ALAN Requesting Donations to Help with COVID-19 Response
MHI is coordinating with the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) on supply chain continuity and critical health care resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. ALAN is working with multiple government and private sector organizations including Healthcare Ready to strengthen health care supply chains through collaboration with public health and private sectors.
Kathy Fulton of ALAN talks about the supply chain community’s role in disaster response and why the COVID-19 relief effort has been different from all the rest in this article.
Currently, there is a dire shortage of personal protective equipment and cleaning and disinfecting supplies. MHI and ALAN are asking any company who has these supplies on hand to donate them to Healthcare Ready or your local hospital if you are able:
–Protective face masks
–Cleaning and disinfecting supplies