Packaging the most precious gift – life

By Kristin Alexander

The slogan on PAC Worldwide’s website reads, “Protecting The Things People Care AboutTM.” A fitting motto for the Redmond, WA, company, which manufactures packaging materials. In addition to cushioning merchandise sold by e-commerce businesses, its products now safeguard a priceless commodity – human blood collected by the American Red Cross. 

John Bartell, Vice President of Sustainability for PAC Worldwide, and Colin Peterson, Interim Chief Development Officer for the Red Cross, were brainstorming ways PAC could contribute to the Red Cross. Soon after identifying how the Red Cross uses bubble packing material to bundle and transport blood, an in-kind partnership was made.  

“We’re incredibly grateful for PAC’s generous support and for partnering with us to find a creative and impactful way to leverage what they do to get blood safely where it’s needed,” Peterson said. 

“PAC truly enjoys partnering with and supporting the Red Cross,” Bartell said. “We have a campaign called the 4 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and RETHINK. It is great to see an organization like the Red Cross using this philosophy with our bubble products. Reducing the amount needed at certain locations, reusing the bubble whenever possible and recycling, as PAC’s bubble products do not contain nylon and are fully recyclable.” 

John Bartell, at PAC Worldwide’s Redmond office in 2019

Bartell had an opportunity to see his company’s product in use during a tour of the Red Cross biomed facility in Portland. In addition to the behind-the-scenes action where the blood is packaged to go out to hospitals, he saw individuals donating pints. Some were regulars. 

“There are people who do this all the time, taking time out of their day to donate blood and save somebody’s life. It’s pretty inspiring,” Bartell said. 

As a Platinum Plus benefactor, PAC Worldwide’s annual contributions to the Red Cross are worth $150,000 or more. In addition to in-kind gifts, the company also helps out with time and money. 

When Hurricane Dorian hit, the company agreed to match employee donations to the Red Cross 2-to-1. 

“It feels good. It feels like it’s right thing to do — supporting both local communities and communities that need help, that are affected by disaster or tragedy. Also, you never know when your community is going to be struck by one of those,” Bartell said. 

The Red Cross is always interested in talking to businesses about potential partnerships. 

“The Red Cross is one of the most trusted charity brands,” Peterson said. “Our mission is literally saving lives every day. Companies can feel confident that their support will have a real impact in the lives of many in need, and their customers and their employees will be proud to see the company helping out in that way, partnering with the Red Cross.” 

“I would just encourage businesses, when they’re considering their annual giving, to consider the Red Cross and an in-kind donation,” Bartell said. 

Whether a wildfire, winter storm, flood or home fire response, the American Red Cross follows a consistent method for identifying and securing in-kind donations.
If your organization manufactures, supplies and/or distributes bulk quantities of products or services, and is interested in exploring an in-kind donation, please contact us. Time is of the essence when disaster strikes. Start a relationship with us now.
For more information on in-kind donations to the Red Cross, contact Steven Greimann at steven.greimann@redcross.org

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