From Leila Mueller, Humanitarian Assistance and Product Giving Specialist, Johnson & Johnson
I traveled to Peru this past August, where record low temperatures took the lives of hundreds of children in the country. The disaster forced the government to declare a state of emergency as citizens living in poor and isolated communities nestled among the Andes Mountains struggled to cope with the freezing temperatures.
In response to the escalating disaster, employees at Johnson & Johnson Peru worked together through their One Child, One Blanket program to provide warmth and comfort by donating 500 blankets to children affected by the state of emergency. One Child, One Blanket, as its name indicates, provides blankets to children in disaster affected areas. Employees knit, sew or purchase blankets, which are distributed to children in need following a disaster. This program, with its personal connection between Johnson & Johnson employee volunteers and communities in need, serves as one component of Johnson & Johnson’s disaster relief efforts across the globe.
Johnson & Johnson USA employees matched the donation, bringing the total to 1,000 blankets. With the help of our in-country U.S. partner organization Americares, Volunteers for Inter-American Development Assistance (VIDA), employees distributed blankets to children and families to help battle the drastic cold.
On a Saturday afternoon in the low income community of Ventanilla, about an hour outside Lima, I watched as one by one, children received their new blankets. The children were full of smiles as they clung to their blankets. Later, I listened as parents told me how important this initiative was to their survival.
“This is such a forgotten community,” one mother told me. “We are so glad that you are here.”
In 2009, its inaugural year, One Child, One Blanket distributed 1,500 blankets to children around the world. In 2010, our aim was to deliver 3,000 blankets to children in need. To date, we have surpassed this goal and are still giving thanks to the ongoing support from Johnson & Johnson employees, their family and friends as well as the community.
Take a look at this photo montage and this video from my time in Peru, and read A Legacy of Disaster Relief to learn more about Johnson & Johnson’s efforts to help those suffering as a result of natural and man-made disasters. By providing an item as simple as a blanket, we can make a huge difference in the lives of children affected by disaster.