Bringing hope to children and food to the needy

Employees at Dematic in Mexico and in the USA are giving something back to society.

Two neighboring countries, one company and one common goal: employees of Dematic in Salt Lake City in the US and in Monterrey, Mexico have been volunteering in their communities.

Brian’s eyes light up as he tears open the package given to him by a Dematic employee: he’ll make good use of the sports shoes and a new pair of jeans. Imperio de Amor, ‘Empire of Love’, is a big name for a simple set-up with plastic chairs, a tiled floor and a large piece of hand-painted graffiti adorning the concrete football pitch. The Dematic employees first need to take their bus along a somewhat perilous road strewn with deep potholes in order to deliver their specially selected gifts in person. But Imperio de Amor is a place of refuge for children from Juarez in the north Mexican city of Monterrey. Here, the youngsters aged between four and seven get three meals a day, help with their homework and some much-needed attention. These are things that their parents and grandparents are unable to give them because of violence or drug abuse in the family, poverty or because they are simply unable to cope.

Spending time and giving affection

The new Dematic plant in Monterrey, with its air-conditioned offices, high-spec computers and elegantly designed forecourt, is situated close to Imperio de Amor, yet the two places are worlds apart. As is so often the case in Mexico the contrasts are stark here. But today the employees want to put smiles on the faces of the 75 children by bringing presents. Veronica Muñoz, who works as a coordinator in the HR department at Dematic Monterrey, has spent weeks coordinating the collection, ensuring that each child would get their new clothes or shoes in the right size.

The colorfully wrapped packages marked with the children’s names are piled up in Veronica’s office. Those of her colleagues who are able to free up some time accompany her to Imperio de Amor, where they hand over the gifts together and spend the rest of the afternoon with the children.

Making a difference and sharing experiences

Eduardo Domingo, Director of Imperio de Amor, couldn’t be happier about the generous visitors. “We never have enough of what we need. When Dematic arrives on site, it’s like a prayer has been answered,” says the quiet man with the shaved head, who the children call Lalo.

“I like our campaign because it really comes from the heart,” says Jeffrey Trevino of Dematic, who is visiting for the second time. He bought trainers for a 13-year-old girl, who timidly accepts the gift. “Giving her just a little bit of what I have is very easy for me. It’s not much, but these children need love.”

And the children are keen to show their gratitude. They gather together to sing a short serenade accompanied by Lalo’s guitar and then run around the room. “Gracias”, “muchas gracias” – the children throw their arms around the first person they see. One girl presses a handwritten note into Sandra Leyva’s hand, in which she has scrawled: “We love you. Thank you for everything that all of you at Dematic have done for us. God bless you”. Leyva is visibly touched and has to quickly wipe away a tear.

“Strong working relationships are the engine that drives us, as employees of Dematic, to get involved in the community in which we work,” she says later. “It doesn’t matter where we do our volunteering, it’s the positive impact that is important for us.”

"We never have enough of what we need. When Dematic arrives on site, it’s like a prayer has been answered."

Eduardo Domingo

Supporting the food bank as a team

Her Dematic colleagues 2,500 kilometers further north – in Salt Lake City in the US state of Utah – couldn’t agree more. Why else would they crawl out of bed at 6 am on a Saturday morning to travel to a warehouse and pack cans into cardboard boxes? It all comes down to the US principle of ‘giving something back’ – helping those who are worse off or going through a tough time in their life. This is the explanation offered by Eliza Borysiuk, administrative assistant at Dematic in Salt Lake City, who has organised her colleagues’ donations for the Utah Food Bank: “Volunteering has become a big part of my life, and I wanted it to become part of my work life too. It’s exciting and it’s fun working together to do our bit.” Both the HR department and plant manager Don Davis are giving her their full backing.

"It’s exciting and it’s fun working together to do our bit."

Eliza Borysiuk

Doing good with canned foods and blankets

The Dematic employees in Salt Lake City proved to be just as generous as their colleagues in Mexico. It wasn’t long before the aisles of the warehouse were piled up with jars of peanut butter, pasta ready meals and canned foods for the food bank, as well as blankets, nappies, warm coats and socks in all sizes for the Road Home homelessness charity, which is also supported by Dematic. There were so many donations that they had to be loaded into the multiple rental trucks using handcarts.

But the volunteering doesn’t end with the donations. Eliza, manager Don and a dozen other Dematic colleagues are spending their Saturday morning on a conveyor line, packing cardboard boxes with cans of pasta, vegetables and fruit, as well as boxes of breakfast cereals and juice. Each person is responsible for one type of food. The food bank project is called the Community Supplement Food Program (CSFP). Its packages are delivered in person to people who are too ill, weak or old to collect the food for themselves.

Everyone gets stuck in to help others

Eliza Borysiuk and her colleagues are happy to do so.

Help for people in the neighborhood

The Utah Food Bank is the biggest in this Mormon-majority state and delivers to more than 140 partner organizations. When volunteer coordinator Mahina Jones turns the music up loud, it’s clear to see how much fun the volunteers are having with their packing. The boxes roll from hand to hand along the conveyor belt and everyone is in a good mood. After two hours, 15 pallets have been emptied, 500 packages have been filled and Mahina Jones is satisfied. “We wouldn’t be able to do any of this without our volunteers. Last year, they worked enough hours to have substituted for 40 permanent members of staff,” says Jones. “That’s 40 salaries we didn’t have to pay, and the money that was saved was used to buy more provisions for the food bank.”

At the end of his shift, Dematic manager Don says: “So many bad things are happening at the moment, all over the world – earthquakes and hurricanes and mass shootings. But in our own backyard there are people who are hungry and who need warm clothing and food.”

"But even in our own backyard there are people who are hungry and who need warm clothing and food."

Don Davis


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