Josh Sosland PortraitKANSAS CITY — The Thanksgiving holiday is a time for reflection on the many blessings we enjoy. In a difficult year like 2020, grain-based foods indeed has much to appreciate, a sentiment in this case tinged with a large dose of sadness and alarm.

The manner in which the grain, flour milling and baking industries were able to meet an unexpected surge in demand this year should be a source of enduring pride. Food insecurity has been a problem during the coronavirus pandemic but not because of food supply shortages or logistical problems. Similarly, much of the grain-based foods industry has been able to operate throughout the year without interruption, thanks to the dedication of frontline workers and extra efforts to ensure their safety. Bakers who have been adversely affected, including those focused on foodservice and in-store customers, have seen a gradual recovery.

None of which is to ignore the horrific loss of life that has marked 2020 and the economic struggles emanating from the pandemic. Surging infection rates across the country in recent weeks portend even more tragedy and pose the threat of new setbacks in the food sector and heightened risks that grain-based foods operations will face at least sporadic health-related interruptions. Outstanding preliminary successes in coronavirus vaccine clinical trials represented desperately needed good news and a glimmer of hope that the nightmarish plague afflicting so many will run its course in the months ahead. Relief cannot arrive too soon.