Abundant Volunteer Spirit of Amazon PDX7 Saves Lives

Colleen Hathaway/Red Cross Cascades Region

(Pictured L to R) PDX7 Mascot, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Child Life Manager Rebekah Coles and Amazon PDX7 General Manager Jill Phillips Ortega.

When we think of Amazon, certain business model themes may come to mind, such as convenient and speedy one-stop shopping at our fingertips or free shipping.  But Amazon is also in the business of giving back to the community.  In September 2022, its fulfillment center in Salem, also known as PDX7, gave back in a big way.  Through various acts of kindness and generosity, employees raised $25,000 and an additional $3,000 worth of toys and games for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, lifting the hopes and spirits of children with cancer and their families.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Every September for the past six years, employees of Amazon fulfillment centers across the country, through the “Amazon Goes Gold” for Kids with Cancer Campaign, have participated in a variety of activities to raise pediatric cancer awareness, and support research and front-line care.  Activities include blood drives, the St. Jude 5K walk/run, wearing gold, volunteering, and wearing pajamas to work.  While it’s obviously fun, wearing pajamas to work is also a way for employees to honor children fighting cancer; often, children are in pajamas for months or even years during treatment and recovery.[1] The “Gold” in Amazon Goes Gold is for the gold ribbon, the universal sign for childhood cancer.  According to Amazon, this year alone, 400,000 children will be diagnosed with pediatric cancer worldwide.[2]

Amazon Goes Gold fulfillment sites with at least 50 percent participation in a variety of activities are entered into a drawing to earn a chance to donate $25,000 to a pediatric cancer charity of their choice. PDX7 was one of five winners across participating business lines.

One of their activities was holding a blood drive, in this case for the Cascades Region Red Cross. PDX7 General Manager Jill Phillips Ortega, featured in the video below, said employees advocated hard to have a blood drive for the Red Cross as part of their campaign. In fact, the site held a blood drive in June 2022 as well, and has plans to hold three in 2023, including one that just took place in January and another next September for Amazon Goes Gold.  Through the last three blood drives, 50 employees donated blood; 13 of the 22 who donated in January were first-time donors.

The volunteer spirit of sites like PDX7 is strong and far reaching.  Ms. Ortega said that her site regularly supports their community, donating to non-profit organizations such as the Marion County Food Bank and Liberty House, a child abuse assessment center serving Marion and Polk counties.  Affinity Groups such as Latinos at Amazon, who promote career development and volunteerism, are instrumental to the success of activities and events.  Nicte Chandler, president of this affinity group, as well as Senior Human Resources Business Partner at Amazon, helped to coordinate the buses that served as spaces for employees to give blood at the September blood drive.

[1] https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/community/amazon-goes-gold

[2] https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/community/how-amazon-is-helping-combat-childhood-cancer