With a busy schedule both at work and privately, you sometimes forget how lucky you are. Wherever you are in the world, working for MANN+HUMMEL means a regular salary and therefore safety, security and food on the table for you and your family. In the MANN+HUMMEL Portage, MI newsletter, I read a report about a scheme MANN+HUMMEL USA were supporting in Michigan to provide blankets to families less fortunate than our own.

I contacted my colleague Kaitlin Nunnery to find out more. She mentioned that the appeal for material to make the blankets needed was more successful than anticipated. There was material left over, so Kaitlin offered to send it to me in Fayetteville. A few days later it arrived, so I needed to do something with it!

blanket donation

Our connection to the community

As part of our commitment to our local community, we participate each May in United Way’s “Days of Caring” by volunteering in different projects with non-profit organizations. MANN+HUMMEL in Fayetteville also work closely with the town’s Urban Ministry. For over 40 years, the Ministry has been reaching out to those locals in need through its four programs. When I mentioned that we could make blankets, the Ministry were delighted. One of their programs, Emergency Assistance, helps families and individuals in crisis with food, clothing, hygiene items and household goods. Recently, the program served more than 8,000 people, over 500 homeless individuals, and 632 military-affiliated lives in just one year.

blanket donation

The blanket assembly line

With a commitment to delivering much-needed blankets, the pressure was on! Next, I had to recruit some volunteers. It is never easy to ask people to give up their valuable time, but I am always so impressed by the generosity and enthusiasm of my colleagues. We started blanket production one afternoon, just before the end of the working day. Naturally, our engineering background shone through as we organized ourselves into a very efficient assembly line!

Luckily, making the blankets involved no sewing whatsoever. We laid one fleece on the other, cut strips into the sides and then tied those strips together; a blanket in next to no time! In just under two hours in a single evening, 10 volunteers made 20 blankets. Stacked into a couple of piles, the completed blankets looked amazing – so colorful, warm and cozy!

Generosity knows no bounds

Word soon spread around the factory about what I was doing. Colleagues who missed the volunteer evening asked me to supply them with material, so they could take it home and make blankets in their own time.

My colleague Elizabeth Hardin offered toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel, and other items that she had collected with her outstanding couponing skills. So, as well as the blankets, we donated 20 packs of hygiene products thanks to Elizabeth’s generosity.

The Ministry were so grateful for the donation. It enabled them to continue their vital work. The reaction from colleagues has been tremendous too. Here are just a few of the comments I have received after the volunteer events:

“Participating in the United Way’s “Days of Caring” is an opportunity for me to look beyond my own needs – and into the needs of my community. It provides a venue for me to be selfless and sacrificial – all for the benefit of positively affecting the world around me. It’s another chance to “pay it forward” – and to show my personal commitment to social responsibility.” – Kanika Watters

“Being able to help someone that can’t always help themselves was both rewarding and humbling. I’m glad I was able to participate in the Days of Caring event.” – Allayne Washington

a man sews

Continuing the commitment

I’ll be looking out for more ways to support the local community. It not only shows MANN+HUMMEL’s commitment but is also a wonderful way for employees to give back too.