The Otter Tail Lakes Country Association supplied small businesses and nonprofits in Otter Tail County that have been directly and adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with personal protective equipment.

Early this spring, as businesses began to develop their preparedness plans, it became apparent that PPE was in short supply or required large quantities to place an order, said a news release from Otter Tail County.

Marie Noplos, the marketing and membership director for Otter Tail Lakes Country Association, saw the disruption this caused for area businesses and organizations. Lakes Country Association is a member-based, non-profit organization focused on promoting the region and supporting its diverse members. “Businesses, churches and even many schools and municipalities couldn’t gain access to the critical PPE they needed,” Noplos said in a news release.

In response to the shortage, Lakes Country Association, in partnership with Otter Tail County and several area chambers of commerce formed a partnership to provide free or at-cost PPE for local businesses and nonprofits. “We were honored to partner with Otter Tail County and provide this much-needed service,” Noplos said. “We fulfilled over 400 orders from diverse organizations that were having trouble getting the essential PPE that they needed to be able to reopen or operate safely."

Thousands of PPE supplies were distributed to local businesses and nonprofits, including:

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  • 434 gallons of hand sanitizer
  • 6,775 pairs of gloves
  • 31,855 face coverings and shields

“We are so appreciative of the PPE we were able to get from the PPE store,” Abby Hightower, Solutions Behavioral Healthcare program supervisor, said in a news release. “The PPE we received allowed our clinics to remain open and provide critical and essential services to the people of our community. The PPE donations made it easier and less stressful on our staff who have been extremely dedicated to providing our services to the community during these times.”

In October, the PPE Store suspended operations as it became apparent businesses and organizations were able to access the necessary supplies independently. “It was evident that the private market caught up and businesses were able to access the supplies they needed. We are certainly willing to reopen the store should market conditions change, but for now, gloves, masks and other PPE are much more accessible,” Noplos said.

For more information and additional resources about Otter Tail County’s COVID-19 Navigating the Road Ahead programs, please contact Shannon Terry at or 218-998-8058.