Volunteering in pandemic times

October 11, 2021

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As part of MSD’s corporate volunteering program, MSD Belux organized the MSD Gives Back Days, totally corona-proof, during the working hours of the month of Sept 2020. More than 200 colleagues rolled up their sleeves to support Belgian Non-profit-organization to help them survive corona (you can watch the summary video here). During pandemic times, we were challenged to rethink the way we can encourage our employees to make a difference in such an atypical environment, but the need of help was obvious and we didn’t lack courageous colleagues to show up and help, in hospitals.

In this first round, we’re sharing the stories of Veronique and Stephanie, who both decided to volunteer in two different hospitals during Covid times.

Veronique Lizen: Senior Customer Representative, Sales GHH Immunology

“Volunteering made a lot of sense to me. Being able to help in hospitals rather than staying at home and just working remote, allowed me to feel that I was doing something significant. At first, I was on a waiting list at Mont-Godinne Namur hospital, but afterwards they called me when they needed additional people at the hospital, and I was happy to jump in.

My volunteering was focused on the Saint Nicolas day where, together with two other volunteers, we distributed beautifully wrapped bags of pralines. It took us 2 days to distribute everything (more than 5000 packages). Given this chance, I was be able to meet the members of the different departments of the hospital when they would come to pick up their bag of chocolate. The gesture was a small ray of sunshine in a very darkened sky and the biggest satisfaction was to see that we could brighten everyone’s day and make them happy. The only “disappointment” was that we were not disguised as Saint Nicolas!

Thanks MSD for allowing me to be of service and to be there to help. It feels good when you get back home.”

Stephanie Vermaut: Product Specialist Anesthesie

“In November, December 2020 and January 2021 I did volunteer work in AZ Delta, Roeselare. I always went there to help during the week, on Mondays and Tuesdays. I helped both on the Menen and Roeselare campus, depending on where the demand was the highest. I did my volunteering in the COVID department, geriatrics, mainly helping the health care personnel with tasks such as serving breakfast and lunch. The atmosphere in those departments was friendly and cozy, I felt that my help was really appreciated. Many of the older patients were very happy only with a chat or a little extra help.

I also got a lot of satisfaction from the work myself, since I got to know the hospital in a completely different way. I am grateful that MSD gave me that chance!”

We will continue to share the stories of our employees and their continuous effort to make the world around a better place!