Ken Sternad, vice president of the UPS Foundation, details the importance of the private sector -including logistics companies - in disaster relief operations and calls on businesses "to step up to the plate," in a blog written for The Huffington Post.
Sternad says the earthquake in Haiti has sparked a remarkable global outpouring of generosity. "But the relief effort's success depends on more than donations of cash and goods; it hinges on the consistent and efficient distribution and management of food, medicine, shelter and other life-saving supplies," Sternad writes. "As the global community continues to respond to Haiti and prepare for potential future disasters, it's critical for the private sector to step up to the plate in ways that far exceed financial donations. There's a compelling need for corporations to match their dollars with expertise and skilled volunteers to help save lives and rebuild communities after disaster strikes."
Over the last few years, UPS has brought its logistics expertise to bear in the wake of many disasters. These efforts are part of a $9 million pledge to help relief organizations respond better to global emergencies, says Sternad. "That pledge - which we just boosted by another $1 million specifically for Haiti relief - also includes in-kind transportation and support for the American Red Cross, CARE, UNICEF and the World Food Programme."
But beyond dollars and expertise, Sternad says, a company's best contribution to a relief effort can be the human spirit of its people. "For us, volunteers like UPSer Craig Arnold embody this spirit. Craig was volunteering on the ground in Haiti soon after the quake hit, using his logistics knowledge to establish food distribution centers for the Salvation Army, which currently serves more than 10,000 people. He and others like him have made a meaningful difference by providing on-the-ground help during actual disasters.
"So before the next disaster strikes, companies should consider matching financial contributions with their business expertise and the skills and passions of their people. The world will thank them."
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