Amazon Supports UMCH

A post on Facebook served as the catalyst for the start of a relationship between the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital and a group of Amazon employees.

Amazon donationDuring the heart of the COVID pandemic, a Facebook post evolved into a series of donations from employees of an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore. The BWI-2 center’s assistant general manager, Tori Wilson, took the plea of a neighbor and University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH) pediatric nurse to heart. Her request was simple: notebooks for children to draw or write in while they were hospitalized.

“I knew we could do better than that,” Tori said. She empowered her colleague, Operations Manager Sarah Eben, to lead the charge to collect toys, clothing, technology, and cash as well as the notebooks. Sarah worked with site managers from different sites in the Baltimore area and one of Amazon’s logistics partners, AMZL Logistics, to collect a truck full of donations from their associates as well as the company.

The donations started in 2021 and continued through last year based on a wish list of items they cultivated from UMCH, and the duo has no plans to stop any time soon. Their first round of donations was targeted for the hospital’s adolescent psychiatric unit. “We also did some room renovations for inpatient rooms,” Tori said. “We provided some hospital-grade recliners and refrigerators, and items to beautify their rooms and make it a more pleasant experience.”

In December, with restrictions lifted, a team of Amazon volunteers delivered the gifts in person. “Being able to interact with the kids took the experience to a whole other level,” Sarah shared. “We don’t know what these families are facing, but we’re here to provide anything that we can to try to make that experience just slightly better for them.”

Sarah and Tori are acutely aware that their support hits close to home. “We’re helping the community in which our associates work and live, and which we work in and live in,” Tori explained. “This isn’t a national partnership. This is a hyperlocal partnership. This is just people at this site who found an organization through happenstance. We were able to provide for a need that was otherwise unfilled.”

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