Finding Purpose Through Volunteerism
Ruby Calpito, an associate manager of marketing events for Baxter Canada, shares her experience giving back to the community
Tell us about your role at Baxter.
I partner with marketing on customer-facing events across our six business units in Canada, both for our commercial and non-commercial teams. This year marks my 20th anniversary with Baxter! It’s been an exciting journey.
When did you start getting involved with volunteerism at Baxter?
Volunteering has been encouraged since I first started at Baxter, though the opportunities used to be more sporadic. That changed a few years ago when Baxter Canada decided to focus our corporate giving on a single cause and our Community Investment Committee helped create a national program in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross. The program, Welcome Home, is focused on bringing compassion and dignity to vulnerable Canadians transitioning from hospital to home.
What’s your favourite aspect of Baxter's partnership with the Canadian Red Cross?
Because the Canadian Red Cross is part of the largest humanitarian network in the world, we’re able to offer a variety of activities to employees. I’m part of our volunteer engagement committee and my favourite projects have been working with the Mobile Food Bank (MFB) and Priority Assistance to Transition Home (PATH) community wellness programs.
Tell us more about the mobile food bank and PATH.
Every month, Baxter employees go to the MFB to pack food hampers for those who aren't able to access a food bank due to illness, disability or other health reasons. We try to personalize hampers, noting allergies, pets, and whether a recipient lives alone or is a family with kids. Food insecurity can often be invisible, but it does exist in our own backyard, which is why the MFB is so important to the community. We also host a No Place Like Home postcard writing campaign where employees are invited to write a message of support to PATH patients in Northeastern Ontario. PATH provides support services to patients being discharged from the hospital who require help to transition safely, smoothly, and comfortably and are at risk of re-admission.
How did volunteer opportunities change during COVID-19?
At first, we couldn't volunteer, but it was important for our teams to continue this work. After a few months, we were able to return as volunteers to the MFB in reduced capacity and following proper safety protocols. We also just recently launched a postcard design contest with the children of Baxter employees; the winning design will be included in curated activity kits distributed to vulnerable seniors. Our employees are also going to participate in the Red Cross' Friendly Phone Call program to check in with isolated seniors. Plus, some of our Quebec-based employees are also volunteering at COVID-19 vaccine clinics... and these are just some examples of the ways we continue to give back!
What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
Ruby: It’s a two-way street. Through volunteering, you are doing something good for someone else while also doing good for yourself. I've discovered a different purpose for myself. Through volunteering at work, I get to strengthen and expand my network of colleagues. I've also found that volunteering allows me to stay connected with my community, reduces stress and simply makes me happier.
How has Baxter supported your volunteerism?
Ruby: Baxter has been extremely supportive, allowing employees paid time off each year to volunteer at a charity of choice. With the Red Cross, we’re able to do volunteer projects during working hours. I believe volunteerism genuinely intersects with Baxter’s mission to save and sustain lives – not just through the products and therapies we offer, but also through giving back to the community.