ComDel Innovation sets donation record for food pantry

Jake Kletsch, ComDel Innovation, loaded up with plenty of canned goods for the Richland Wilkin Emergency Food Pantry.

How much food and goods can you collect in a month?

ComDel Innovation, Wahpeton, had a 9,128-pound donation to the Richland Wilkin Emergency Food Pantry. The donation, made Friday, Nov. 2, completed Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Month.

ComDel’s contribution also set a new single day donation record. At the same time, it will likely all be gone and distributed within two weeks.

“We distribute 15,000 pounds of food every month,” explained Lois Fenske, food pantry director. “The number of residents we serve remains steady in the winter months.”

More than 300 ComDel employees teamed up to not only donate, but keep track of progress.

“As the amount kept growing, teams got competitive,” said Chief Financial Officer Bruce Weeda.

No money was donated to the food pantry, only food and goods. Donated items included laundry detergent, diapers, fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, any number of canned goods and much more.

“It shows what happens when people work together,” Weeda continued. “There was a really neat team effort and people ran with the idea. That’s rewarding.”

The Richland Wilkin Emergency Food Pantry, located at 699 Eighth Ave. S. in Wahpeton, learned relatively late about the large donation. Fenske is proud of the achievement and mindful of the need to continue providing for customers.

“Our previous single day record was in 2017, when the Rotary Club filled the bus. They brought us 5,100 pounds of food and goods,” she recalled.

ComDel, which celebrates its 11th anniversary in December, had another recent achievement. The manufacturer won the 3M Supplier of the Year Award.

3M honored ComDel for the Wahpeton company’s contribution to improving 3M’s competitiveness.

“We are honored to be recognized by 3M as Supplier of the Year,” said ComDel President and CEO Jim Albrecht. “We value our relationship and work closely with the 3M team to deliver innovation and results for their customers.”

Over a decade ago, in May 2007, Imation announced its plans to discontinue its 370-employee operations in Wahpeton. 3M began operations at ComDel’s current site with 17 employees in 1977.

ComDel began operations with 12 customers served. Since then, the number of customers has grown to over 130. Markets served worldwide include aerospace, machinery, industry and consumer products.

“It’s gratifying to see the recognition from 3M and the contributions from the entire team that made it all happen,” Albrecht continued. “There is a team element of working together, sticking to a goal and meeting our customers’ needs.”

ComDel was one of 16 suppliers among thousands worldwide who were honored by 3M.

“(They’ve given) world class performances in providing products and services,” 3M stated. “These suppliers were identified and rated based on strategic spend, contract compliance, actions taken to improve 3M’s relevance and overall supplier performance.”

Supplier performance includes quality, delivery, responsiveness, cost and technology.

“It’s important that we recognize our most outstanding suppliers,” said Debora Fronczak, vice president of 3M Strategic Sourcing. “That’s what this award is all about.”

Whether donating and receiving, ComDel Innovation continues to capture the Twin Towns Area’s attention.

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