It is safe to say that the phrase “unprecedented times” is now a cliché. And yet, it is an accurate description of the past few months and none have been left unaffected.
Below are a few examples of how Agiloft employees have found a way to lend a hand. We hope to spotlight their hard work and the great organizations and communities they serve.
Noe Ramos, Agiloft Customer Success Manager, has volunteered at her local food bank and homeless shelter since she was a kid.
At first, both organizations were reluctant to have volunteers exposed, but as the needs of the community rapidly grew it became clear that volunteers were needed more than ever. Along with the usual tasks like food prep and passing out meals, volunteers pass out what PPE they can find. Due to food shortages and an increase in demand, Noe has been tasked with calling on large grocery chains for donations. However, as they are also experiencing food shortages, securing donations has proved difficult. Another challenge has been helping the homeless community understand the importance of wearing masks and gloves.
Food shortages and long unemployment lines or not, Noe is grateful for a chance to help her community. She says, “I may not be a doctor or nurse, but [people] need food and support. That has been rewarding.”
Sharon Mech, Agiloft Sales Representative, grew up listening to her mother on the sewing machine. When the shutdown hit, she knew she had a valuable skill set she could use. She estimates she has made close to 200 masks since the shutdown, in between dealing with a shortage of elastics and broken sewing needles.
About half of Sharon’s masks have gone to a company in Philadelphia that produces the type of high-tech fabrics used for masks and medical gowns. The company is currently drowning in orders and their employees haven’t had the chance to work on their own protection. As Sharon put it, “Not all heroes wear capes. These folks make the fabric those capes are made of.” In thanks, the company has gifted Sharon with some of their fabric and two precious rolls of industrial elastic which she’s shared with other mask makers in the area.
Sharon has passed out the rest of her masks to everyone from family and friends to her parish family to people in line at Home Depot. She says, “Every time I think I’m done I find that I am mistaken. I’m aiming at people who need masks but aren’t priority.”
Rose Booble, Agiloft Implementer, has also been sewing masks, primarily for local grocery stores and others in her community. One of her favorite parts of the process has been watching people get excited when picking out their favorite mask, with designs like Spider-man and Legend of Zelda. Like Sharon, Rose was faced with an elastics shortage and has been improvising with hair ties. Rose says, “There’s a feeling that once you start making masks you can't stop, because what if there is just ONE more person who needs a mask and won't have one if you stop now.”
She also has volunteered at a local gleaners group. Gleaning is the act of making sure no produce goes to waste from lack of harvesters, so it can be distributed to those in need in the community.
Stephen Sproehnle, Agiloft System Administrator, bought his first 3D printer two years ago and had decided to upgrade about a month before the lockdown. While researching ways to help, Stephen found the non-profit organization MakerForce, “a grassroots emergency response organization formed to harness the collective manufacturing power of individual makers and 3D printing hobbyists.”
When Stephen bought his first printer, he did not expect that he would become so adept in troubleshooting his machines when they stopped working. As with Sharon and Rose, Stephen has had to deal with a shortage of materials. Currently, Amazon doesn’t consider the plastic necessary for 3D printing to be essential, meaning much longer shipping times. Luckily, he was able to find a local supplier. Stephen has enjoyed seeing pictures of medical professionals using face shields he helped create and is trying to experiment with using different color plastics.
Something Rose, Noe, Sharon, and Stephen all mentioned was how they have enjoyed working and collaborating with people (digitally) through their volunteer efforts. They all look looking forward to meeting them in person.
Once the world becomes less “unprecedented,” of course.