The COVID-19 crisis has been a test of adaptability for companies and individuals worldwide. During United Properties’ test work-from-home day mid-March, our IT team worked diligently to touch base with each employee to ensure we were ready. Our offices closed the next day in-line with schools, and the shelter-in-place order took effect the following week.
Couriering, printing, mail forwarding, copying, signing, video conferencing and all challenging business continuation efforts aside, our March food drive – benefitting The Sheridan Story in Minneapolis and Bienvenidos Food Bank in Denver – was among the first things to rethink. As the pandemic’s impact became clearer, it occurred to us that the need we were working to fulfill wouldn’t go away just because we’re out-of-office. In fact, the need all around the world would only grow.
We thought about the earth-shaking impact for so many and all the vulnerable people to protect in our own lives and communities. What about the kids no longer receiving their free or reduced lunch at school? What about people out of work, maybe navigating the unemployment system for the first time? And one that’s especially close to our heart: What about the seniors we serve? How will they feel the impact of coronavirus?
How can we be there without being there? We could not go on business-as-usual.
Lynn Camp, AVP & director of business development, shared her heartfelt thoughts on the state of the state in a message to a small group of coworkers:
“I have been struggling with how I can be helpful in a time of need for so many when it is recommended that I stay away from others as much as possible,” she shared, along with an MPR article mentioning The Sheridan Story and some ideas for community support. “I am wondering what you think about communicating some of these ideas [out to employees], as I know we have a lot of people with big hearts who may be feeling something similar.”
Lynn’s sense that many were feeling moved to do more was correct, and the following week, the UP Leadership team issued an internal communication to share how the company would respond to the office closures. In lieu of a month-long food drive, United Properties would provide financial support to both food shelves to help fight hunger during this critical time in the communities where we do business.
Beyond financial support, now is the time to get creative in the ways we support and connect. We don’t have to socially distance just because we must physically distance. We plan to innovate and come out stronger. Stay tuned for Business as Unusual Part II: COVID, Connection & Creativity. Until then, let’s quarantine, unite & conquer.
The People of United Properties
THE SHERIDAN STORY
The Sheridan Story works to fight hunger in our community by filling the gaps to food access that Minnesotan children face during weekends, summers and extended breaks. Albeit unexpected, this is clearly one of those extended breaks.
On behalf of 20+ organizations partnering to fight hunger, The Sheridan Story issued an email communication late last month with a clear message: For those struggling with food scarcity, you are not alone, and we are here for you.
“We have food available, and more is on the way. We are united and working round the clock to serve our community. We are coordinating our efforts with one another and with Governor Walz’s office. Minnesota’s greatest asset is our ability to work together to solve our community’s problems. We will get through this pandemic together. We are here for you. We are #MNStrong.”
BIENVENIDOS FOOD BANK
Bienvenidos is an essential source of fresh, healthy food for those in need across the Denver metro. The community-based nonprofit has provided emergency food assistance for more than 40 years. Each year, approximately 300,000 meals relieve 10,000 people suffering from hunger.
The mission is simple: Do all things possible to ensure no one in the community goes hungry. Bienvenidos plans to continue doing all things possible to fulfill the mission while protecting volunteers and friends of Bienvenidos from the threat of COVID-19 by serving meals outdoors.
United Properties has been creating deep roots in the commercial real estate industry for more than 100 years. The company imagines new possibilities in real estate to help enrich communities and create lasting legacies. United Properties provides market expertise for ground-up development, redevelopment and acquisitions of value-add and stable investments. The company invests in and develops office, industrial, retail, mixed-use and senior housing properties. United Properties is owned by the Pohlad Companies and is headquartered in Minneapolis, with an office in Denver. For more information, visit www.uproperties.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.