Starting a new job can be overwhelming and it’s often the extra curricular activities that endear you to a company. That was the case for Jasmine Stephens, a recent college graduate now employed by LifeScan. Jasmine was very familiar with community service, as she volunteered often while completing her education. When the opportunity to lead the One Child One Blanket program presented itself, Jasmine jumped at the chance to get involved.
Jasmine and her Sales Leadership Development Program colleagues led the blanket collecting effort last year by challenging employees to donate 100 blankets by end of March. In the end, employees went above and beyond the call to action and donated 240 blankets to children in need.
LifeScan supported the cause by making blankets a special part of the quarterly town hall meeting in which all employees attend. The activity was a pre-meeting event where employees enjoyed breakfast while tying blankets and catching up on various department activities.
Employees from other departments also took on the task in separate team building exercises. Information Technology, Clinical Research, Customer Service and other departments also organized blanket making activities and personal collection drives to help meet this goal. Donated blankets were paired with Johnson & Johnson consumer products, including toothbrushes and soap, then distributed to victims of disaster around the world.
Over the years, the employees of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies have often supported victims of humanitarian crisis, mainly through company-matched financial and product donations. The One Child, One Blanket program now gives employees a more personal way to get involved.
With enthusiastic support from LifeScan leadership, Jasmine and other colleagues were able to purchase fabric and spend time cutting and prepping blankets for employees to make. To date, more than 400 employees from LifeScan have participated in the program and 350 blankets have been shipped.
“The One Child One Blanket program has created a path for employees and the community to respond personally, something they have been asking for a long time,” says Leila Mueller, Humanitarian Assistance/Product Giving Specialist, who has been involved in Johnson & Johnson disaster relief efforts for the last eight years.
Blanket donations are made year-round by individual employees as well as through group efforts supported by colleagues, friends, families and the community. The blankets then become part of a kit of individual hygiene items prepared in advance of need.
In 2009, the program’s first year, 1,900 blankets were collected, more than the initial 1,500 goal. The blankets mostly went to displaced children in Pakistan and to children affected by hurricanes in Central America.|
“We’re seeing not just enthusiasm from employees, but also creativity and leadership in support of this effort,” Leila says.
A total of 4,295 blankets were donated in 2010, surpassing the goal of 3,000. These blankets reached children in Peru during last year’s exceptionally harsh winter and Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake and the resulting cholera epidemic. Blankets were also sent to children in Chile affected by the earthquakes, and to Mexico, Honduras and Colombia as part of flood relief efforts.
The blanket program pre-positions the most-needed products from all three sectors (Pharma, Consumer, Medical Devices & Diagnostics) of Johnson & Johnson before a disaster strikes. Working with preferred disaster relief partner organizations such as AmeriCares, Direct Relief International, Heart to Heart International, MAP International, Medical Teams International and the Surgical Implant Generation Network (S.I.G.N.), these modules can be airlifted quickly to assist the wounded and displaced in an affected disaster zone.
“Johnson & Johnson has a very robust disaster relief program,” says Leila. “And with the One Child, One Blanket program, it’s the personal engagement of employees who are either knitting or crocheting or purchasing the blanket that embodies the sentiment of Johnson & Johnson.”