By: Diane Toomey
Photos by: Kayako Sareen
Many corporations and businesses are discovering the value of a work culture that provides meaning and purpose for employees. zulily, a Seattle based e-commerce retail company, provides full time employees 8 hours of paid volunteer time each quarter to give back through various local communities and philanthropic organizations.
zulily’s Giving Team reached out recently to the American Red Cross to organize a Blood Drive. The January 20 event was a first at zulily, who works at continually providing a diverse selection of giving/volunteering opportunities.
They got the word out through the company’s intranet site, posters and tent cards on cafeteria tables. They recruited blood donors from their staff as well as volunteers to help support the event. Kim Arispe, Marketing Design Manager and frequent donor over the past twelve years, worked at convincing co-workers of the need for blood and explained how easy zulily had made it to participate.
Kim started giving blood 12 years earlier because her coworkers at the time were doing it and she just joined in. A few years later her husband developed an acute and very serious blood disorder where his immune system attacked and destroyed all of his platelets by mistake. During the 11-day hospital stay, he was given multiple platelet transfusions to combat internal bleeding. He eventually made a full recovery and continues to be healthy and happy.
“If it hadn’t been for other people willing to donate blood, platelets, and plasma, he might not be here today,” Kim said. “That’s why I continue to give. It’s such a small sacrifice that has a major impact on the outcome of another person’s life.”
zulily was thrilled with the positive response received from both the employees and their giving partner, American Red Cross Blood Services. The zulily “Giving Team” writes: “This event helped fulfill part of our giving mission, by helping provide employees with an opportunity to add meaningful contributions to our community.”
The event collected 47 units of blood, which is up to 141 lives saved. More than 60 zulily employees contributed to the events success. Participants were notified that donations were particularly critical in light of recent reports of an emergency blood and platelet shortage during the winter season.
“We were very happy to help make a difference during this extra time of need,” the Giving Team added.
The American Red Cross blood program supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood supply where every two seconds someone in the US needs blood, approximately 36,000 units per day.