Companies make a difference, one comfort kit at a time

By: Sophie Kluthe

Employees at UPS in South Philadelphia pack and donate comfort kits

Take a peek into your own bathroom and you’ll probably find at minimum, some soap, a towel and anti-perspirant. Sometimes that shower-fresh feel is all you need to have the confidence to tackle your day. Unfortunately, that’s not a possibility or the reality for a lot of men and women in the years after they finish defending their flag.  

SAF Director Bill Rodebaugh and his right hand volunteer, Julie Martinez, at the UPS comfort kit event

Regional Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces Director, Bill Rodebaugh, knows the scenario all too well as his work is devoted to serving active military, their families and veterans.  

“It is an awful reality that veterans who have served their country can find themselves in situations where they can no longer maintain the basic qualities of life that most of us enjoy.  Being able to wash and be clean has a quality of refreshing a person not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well,” Rodebaugh said. 

That’s where companies and comfort kits come in. Recently, TheZenith Insurance Company, ThermoFisher Scientific and UPS have donated, and even taken the time to pack comfort kits for local veterans in need.  

Earlier this week UPS employees (above) gathered around tables in assembly line-fashion, rapidly filling small bags with items like a razor, shampoo, soap and a wash cloth. It wasn’t long before they filled 35 boxes with about 1,200 of these kits.  

At TheZenith Insurance Company a few weeks back (pictured above), employees smiled and packed to folk music, walking around the tables in shifts, lovingly adding one of each item to the bags.  

It only takes a few hours of the employees’ time, but it’s harder to measure the outcome once these kits get to where they’re going.  

Photos: Part of the SAF team poses with employees from ThermoFisher Scientific after thanking them for their donation.

“Building these kits seems so small. but it does a lot to show our veterans that we hold them in high regard and value. If they in turn can begin to recognize and remember what it is to be valued, then perhaps they can take the first steps in valuing themselves again and be encouraged to seek help and better their situation,” Rodebaugh said. 

A military veteran himself, Rodebaugh knows a thing or two about serving your country. He also knows that small acts of kindness, and in this case, comforts, can pave the way for bigger change. 

“For those of you involved in building these kits, you are expressing your humanity in a way that truly reflects the goodness we all strive to do, because you are valuing the humanity of another you lift us all and in that way you have bettered your community in a lasting way.” 

Would your company or organization want to donate comfort kits to local veterans in need? If so, email natalie.reznik@redcross.org for more information.  

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