Brevard, NC (March 30,2020) — As a manufacturer of food that is essential for assistance programs and the U.S. military, Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) is working hard to continue the production and packaging of their Mountain Maid products while maintaining safe procedures for all employees and program participants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For over a decade, TVS has manufactured a variety of Mountain Maid branded pancake and other mixes for the United States military for Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Troop Support. In a typical year TVS produces enough pancake mix to serve more than 4.3 million pancakes to service members.
Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic reaches unprecedented totals in the U.S., many of the more than 20 Mountain Maid items TVS makes for DLA Troop Support are expected to be provisioned by distributors for military support outlets, including the two Naval Hospital ships deploying on both coasts of the United States.
The USNS Mercy and the USNS Comfort are being deployed to assist treatments of non-COVID-19 patients in the coastal cities, relieving the pressure being placed on health professionals fighting the pandemic at the front lines. Mercy and Comfort each have a 1,000-bed capacity and are equipped with operating rooms and medical equipment.
The TVS manufacturing division is supporting other government aid programs as well during this crisis.
With businesses nationwide having to temporarily lay off workers due to regional stay-at-home edicts, demand at food banks continues to grow. TVS is currently packaging Mountain Maid Instant Non-fat Dry Milk on two large scale production lines, multiple shifts, 6-days a week. The dry milk product is distributed by the USDA to food pantries across the U.S. TVS also manufacturers a low-fat bakery mix that stocks food pantries on Native American Reservations and for other USDA designated locations.
TVS has instituted a number of best practices to ensure the safety of all TVS team members operating during these difficult times. They are supporting social distancing guidelines by having those who can work from home do so, in order to limit potential exposure to the essential production workforce who enter the building every day.
TVS has also suspended all onsite programs and services for individuals with disabilities until the COVID-19 situation is in a place of control and decline. This tough decision has not only provided an extra measure in limiting the number of people inside the building to minimize the threat of the exposure to production workers, but it also removed the amount of social interaction that TVS program participants typically are engaged in.
TVS employs over 20 Direct Support Professionals (DSP) who facilitate a variety of community engagement activities, on and off site. In this new COVID-19 paradigm, almost all of the DSPs are now aiding participants in their own homes and with necessary community activities like doctors’ visits or grocery shopping. Other DSPs have been transitioned to the TVS manufacturing lines to support the growing production needs.
These provisions are dedicated to providing the best care for all TVS program participants, as well as production team members who continue to make products that feed our world and assist the individuals fighting COVID-19 on the battle fronts.
TVS is a social enterprise contract manufacturer specializing in the blending and packaging of dry food and beverage products. Founded in 1967, their mission is to provide quality employment, job training and residential & community services to individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment. For more information go to www.tvsinc.org
Written by: Jenifer Welch