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Feeding Body and Soul

Mary Burich | October 22, 2020


How Wade Schadewald is fighting back

As COVID-19 tightened its grip on the United States, Wade and Molly Schadewald understood that Molly, a nurse, would be on the front line fighting the pandemic. What they didn’t anticipate was how Wade would be called to make similar sacrifices.

He serves as the foodservice director of a long-term care facility in Duluth, Minn. Since March, when the residence was locked down, not only has he been logging long hours, implementing new procedures and covering jobs not ordinarily on his list of responsibilities, Wade has come to realize how food does more than feed our bodies. He and his team members have provided necessary care and comfort – via in-room delivery of meals, casual conversation and compassion – to alleviate the fear and loneliness residents have been feeling.

The narrative touched members of the Hormel® Natural Choice® team, who were about the task of unearthing stories like Wade’s. They launched their #NominateGood campaign in spring 2020, asking members of the general public to come forward with examples of everyday heroes.

Efforts like this go to the heart of the brand’s purpose statement, Good Feeds Us All. In fact, the Hormel® Natural Choice® brand team devised the Good Feeds Us All Tour in late 2019 to spotlight extraordinary people and service organizations throughout the United States and to demonstrate that a simple sandwich not only nourishes bodies, it can change lives.

“We’ve sat down with people who buy our brand, and we understand a sandwich is very emotional. One consumer talked about the sandwiches her mom used to make and how they made her feel so special,” said Beth Fehrenbacher, senior brand manager for the Hormel® Natural Choice® brand.

The Good Feeds Us All Tour was making its way across the United States when the pandemic hit and forced a hiatus. While sheltering in place in Austin, Minn., the brand team came up with the #NominateGood campaign to safely spotlight caring organizations and everyday heroes on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. People like Wade.

He is definitely the one who, if an employee isn’t there – and he doesn’t mandate anyone – he stays to fill in.

Molly Schadewald

He isn’t one to pat himself on the back, but Molly is proud enough of her husband to do it for him.

“He’s exceptionally dedicated,” she says, admitting his work ethic was at times frustrating “in the beginning.” Some of Wade’s team members “opted out” of their assignments, which left the department short-staffed, even as procedures were changing and the work increasing.

“If an employee isn’t there, he stays to fill in,” she says.

That has translated to Wade’s covering all meals and being at the office through his own family’s dinnertime. The couple has a 7-month-old baby, so when Molly and Wade come home from work, they follow a strict ritual of changing clothes and washing up before having contact with their son and relieving the other parent of his or her childcare duties. Waiting in the wings is a mobile home that Wade or Molly will live in, should one of them contract the virus.

They know this virus is not to be taken lightly. Both of them are face to face with the harsh realities of COVID-19. They’ve said good bye to patients and residents.

“It’s been hard,” Molly says. “No one expected it to be going on for so long.”

And yet, they find hope and strength in their work and in each other. “I’m so proud of Wade,” she says. “He inspires me every day.”