AE’s Modified Volunteerism for 2020
About a year ago, I published an optimistic blog post about our successes volunteering in 2019 and improving our communities through teamwork and group projects. I was confident that we would exceed our 2020 goal for volunteer hours spent with ease. Shortly after that post went live, we were confronted with COVID-19 and we had to learn to live with a shocking new reality.
As we hunkered down in our homes and read about the suffering happening all around us, something positive happened. Moved by the stories of healthcare and essential workers, many employees desired to help their communities however they could. We applied this energy and our unique skills and equipment to start producing things to help. We used our 3D printers to print face shields and mask buckles, to alleviate the discomfort of wearing masks around your ears for extended periods. We got requests from other AE offices and from coworkers whose spouses worked in a field where this equipment was necessary and we continued to produce and ship them out as the requests came in. In all, we donated and hand-delivered 125 mask buckles, 30 face shields, 200 reusable masks and filter sets, and 50 N95 masks to local hospitals, care centers, and other AE offices.
In Penang Malaysia, when the General Hospital, police department, and army were facing supply constraints on personal protective equipment (PPE), our employees in Penang, Shenzhen, and Singapore came together with a donation drive that raised enough money to purchase 20,000 surgical face masks. These employees also volunteered their personal time to help purchase, package, and deliver the face masks to various front-line workers around the Penang area.
Throughout this year, AE employees also donated their personal time, money, and belongings to those in need. Our Denver and Fort Collins offices raised $4538 for local food banks at a time when 1 in 4 households was reporting food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also donated toys to Realities for Children to help them supply 1204 children with holiday gifts. And, with safety measures in place, we still managed to get out and spend time helping our local community, by completing maintenance projects at The Farm at Lee Martinez Park and picking up trash at Horsetooth Reservoir.
We did not meet our 2020 goal for volunteer hours spent, but I don’t consider that to be a failure. In retrospect this year only bolstered my opinion that we are powerful when we come together to help each other, even when we can’t physically be together. The generosity that I saw from my coworkers and their excitement to take on interesting new challenges and provide for those in need was inspiring. I believe that even in a year full of suffering and unknowns, there were some positives. We will learn from our successes this year and build on them to provide many unique opportunities to give back and expand our reach to those in need in 2021. Thank you to everyone who offered your time, money, gifts, and energy to those who needed it in 2020.