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Domtar Employees Strengthen Communities with COVID-19 Support

Categories: Giving Back

“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” — Mr. Fred Rogers

At Domtar, caring is a way of life. Throughout our 172-year history, Domtar employees have looked for better ways to serve our customers, support our employees and strengthen our communities. Now, during the current COVID-19 health crisis, our efforts have taken a new shape as we provide COVID-19 support to local medical workers, first responders and citizens in need.

Many of our facilities around the globe have made important donations to help local hospitals and healthcare workers combat the pandemic. Additionally, many of our employees have made individual gifts to their local agencies and organizations. This much-appreciated COVID-19 support helps ease the burdens our communities are facing.

COVID-19 Support at Domtar

Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania

Our Johnsonburg Mill recently donated 27 powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs) to Penn Highlands Healthcare, a regional hospital network. These respirators will be used by medical staff when working near patients with confirmed or suspected illnesses that can be spread through the air, such as COVID-19.

The mill keeps PAPRs on hand as a precaution. Mill employees may need them while moving chemicals in the plant or doing other tasks. The devices look like a bicycle helmet with a clear plastic face shield, a computer-controlled fan, LED indicators and a filter. The fan at the top of the helmet, which runs by battery, pulls air in. The air flows through a filter and is pushed down and out, giving the wearer a constant flow of clean air.

“Every maintenance employee in the mill is issued a PAPR,” says Mike Porter, pulp and power maintenance superintendent. While the mill kept a supply of PAPRs to cover a crew in case of an emergency, employees gave up their personal equipment to donate to the staff at Penn Highlands. The donation had the full support of Greg Linscott, the mill’s general manager, and Tony Casilio, the mill’s health and safety manager.

Johnsonburg Mill maintenance employees (from left): Chad Hefright, Darryl Hanes, Aaron Stahli, Mark Lenox, Justin Feikls and Dave Redmond holding the PAPR helmets.

European Personal Care Facilities

Our European colleagues in Personal Care have shown ingenuity and generosity in providing COVID-19 support to their communities.

In Spain, which has been one of the countries hardest hit by the viral outbreak, Indas donated more than 203,000 personal care items to hospitals in the region near our manufacturing plant in Toledo. Our employees, who have worked continuously to make needed products, were glad to be able to contribute to local efforts that are helping patients and caregivers.

In England, Julie Craggs, a commercial sales manager for Domtar Personal Care, recently answered a call from the National Health Service (NHS) Supply Chain, which requested assistance with stock of Attends Cover-Dri for London’s new NHS Nightingale hospital to cope with the increasing number of COVID-19 patients.

NHS leaders were hoping to open the first 500 beds of an eventual 4,000-bed facility over a weekend. They needed 200 cases of bed protection for next-day delivery to ensure the hospital’s opening. At the time, only an hour remained before the cutoff period for delivery, and that much stock normally would not be available. But the team worked quickly with Natalie Butler in customer service to reallocate stock and Warehouse Manager Jessica Bottomley to pick, pack and arrange delivery. This team effort resulted in the hospital having exactly what it needed to open as scheduled.

“We are now working with the NHS on a further two field hospitals with 3,000 beds, but not on such a tight deadline,” says Sarah Curtis, sales director for UK and Ireland. “Everyone at Attends was so pleased we were able to contribute. We all want to give and do what we do best here: to go above and beyond to meet our customers’ needs.”

Espanola, Ontario

Darla Southwood and Allison Allard, Earth Choice Ambassadors from our Espanola Mill, were looking for a way to bring some joy  and offer COVID-19 support to their community during the current health crisis.

“We discussed how most seniors likely do not have social media the way we do to share jokes and photos and stories with friends and family,” says Southwood. “So we decided to focus our efforts on that part of the community and came up with the idea to provide them with a flower kit, to not only provide them with an activity but also to give them something to watch grow and look forward to in the summer months and better times ahead.”

Domtar Earth Choice Ambassadors prepared the care packages, which included the flower kit, tea, chocolates and a special letter. They personally delivered them to the local senior center and were able to interact with the recipients through a glass wall during their visit.

Espanola Mill Earth Choice Ambassadors put together care packages and visited with seniors at a local senior center during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Dryden, Ontario

Our Dryden Mill made $1,000 donations to five medical centers to help them purchase respirators. Recipients included the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Dryden Regional Health Centre, Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre and Red Lake Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital.

“We recognize how challenged the health care system is during this time and we want to offer our support,” says Marie Cyr, general manager of the Dryden Mill. “We hope this contribution can help offset some of the additional financial burden the hospitals are facing during this time. We thank our health care providers for all they are doing in Northwestern Ontario to keep us safe.”

Kamloops, British Columbia

Employees from our Kamloops Mill purchased six full-face respirators to support a safe dental clinic operated by Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) and the Kamloops and District Dental Society. The clinic offers safe care to area residents who have dental emergencies during the pandemic. The full-face respirators will protect dentists and patients during treatment.

Dentists model their new full-face respirators, which were donated by employees at our Kamloops Mill.

Additionally, Kamloops employees donated 9,000 disposable gloves to the RIH Foundation. These donations were the result of an employee glove challenge, which focused on conserving gloves that can be used by frontline workers within the community.

Employees at our Kamloops Mill donated 9,000 disposable gloves to medical facilities in the area.

Bennettsville, South Carolina

Earth Choice Ambassadors from our Marlboro Mill were planning to assemble and distribute Comfort and Care kits to their community later this year. But to help meet the immediate need for COVID-19 support, they are sending diapers and books directly to the organizations in their communities that need them the most.

Angie Godbold, executive administrative assistant and Earth Choice Ambassador captain at Marlboro Mill, says, “We are so happy to have the opportunity to help our community during this time of need. Since we are unable to build our Comfort and Care kits, we have decided to split the items up and give them to different organizations.”

Marlboro Mill is sending its diaper donations to the Pee Dee Pregnancy Resource Center to help new mothers as they navigate parenting. It’s also supplying books to the local school district to distribute through its lunch delivery program while school is not in session.

A bus driver in Marlboro County, South Carolina, passes out books donated by Marlboro Mill while making lunch deliveries to local students.

Ashdown, Arkansas

Ashdown Mill partnered with the Harvest Regional Food Bank to deliver food to the elderly. Volunteers from the mill unpacked roughly 3,500 lbs. of food and helped serve 100 families in the community. They delivered 21 boxes of food to senior citizens in the area who are unable to leave their homes due to COVID-19. Other boxes of food were picked up at a local church for further distribution.

Employees from our Ashdown Mill delivered donated food to seniors in the area.

Our COVID-19 support efforts are making a difference for our neighbors. Learn more about how our employees help strengthen the communities where they live and work: