OPINION: From the editor: Presenting a challenge

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 20, 2021

Ready or not, the holidays are here and there are plenty of activities through the next month to keep us all busy.

However, there continues to be a supply issue when one walks into the grocery store. Shelves are empty where we are accustomed to seeing it filled with items. To add to the situation, there are families which struggled before the COVID Pandemic began and they are still struggling.

“The factors that are really contributing here is a combination of different things,” Robert Handfield, executive director of supply chain resource cooperative, and Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of operations and supply chain management at North Carolina State University, said. “First of all, it’s the COVID-19 cases that have stopped production in manufacturing and imports, a lot of energy disruptions especially in terms of manufacturing hubs around the world, labor shortages here in the U.S., lack of capital infrastructure investment in the semiconductor industry, and some huge bottlenecks in terms of transportation resources, a lack of containers, ships, and trucks. And when you put surges in consumer demand on top of that, it’s a really bad situation.”

While Handfield suggests ordering for Christmas now, moving the supply chain from China to the U.S. takes time. He also would like to dispel some myths concerning the shortages.

“Well the first is that we can replace drivers with automated trucks. Automated trucks are not a possibility,” Handfield said concerning myths surrounding the supply chain crisis. “The second myth is that we can move supply chains from China to the U.S. That’s going to take a lot of time. People also think we have lots of production capacity to meet global demand. We’re actually short on capacity, especially in semiconductors. We can’t solve the port problems by having them operate 24/7 in L.A. They’re already operating 24/7. And the last myth I would say is you need to start ordering for Christmas or could wait until the last minute. Don’t wait. Start doing it now.”

But what about those families unable to order now or even later? A holiday or a birthday can send a tight budget into a spiral.

My pastor, during a recent discussion, said he was once told, ‘Do for one family that you wish you could do for 100 families.’

While we wish we could help every single person in need of help so they can get the much needed and appreciated hand up, it is not feasible on our own. However, if we each ‘adopted’ a family for the holidays and into the new year, what a difference we could make in the community.

This is not a ‘Look and see what I did’ type challenge. This is a quiet anonymous challenge to help a family you know that is struggling. Maybe cook a little extra one night or use your coupons for free items and drop them off at their house.

Organizations such as Salvation Army and Orange Christian Services do an amazing job at serving the unmet needs of the community but there are also some families which will not ask for help or are too embarrassed. These are the ones I suggest searching out. They need to know that they too matter.

Can you imagine the difference in our community if we all participated?

A radio station I listen to has Go Mad Mondays. It means Go Make a Difference Monday. What if we made every day a MAD day by helping out one family and doing for them what you wish you could do for 100 families.

Will you accept this challenge?

Dawn Burleigh is general manager and editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at dawn.burleigh@orangeleader.com