Apr 24, 2020|4 min|Culture

Making a Difference Volunteering During the Pandemic

In the current global crisis, many people are feeling helpless and unsure of how or where they can help. As National Volunteer Week comes to a close, it’s an ideal time to take a look at how Cohesity customers and employees are reaching out to those in need. Here are some of their stories of practical and hands-on volunteer activities. 

Cohesity customer Phillip Charron works in the IT department of his local rural hospital. In his off time, he began researching and printing 3D items like reusable face shields brackets and surgical mask clips to support his colleagues as they work on the front lines. He quickly used up the filament he had on hand, as he’d only recently bought the printer to make small items like cookie cutters and toys for his young children.

Phillip attended a recent Cohesity webinar and won an Amazon gift card. So he used the gift card on a bulk order of filament to keep making items to donate and let the Cohesity team know their gift card went towards supporting a good cause. Phillip said, “They generously sent a second gift card which will buy enough filament to make around 80 more medical grade face shields that I can donate. Finding ways to support our hospitals, first responders and essential services workers is more important than ever. A big thank you to the Cohesity team for helping me pay it forward.”

Maricela volunteeringCohesity People Experience Partner Maricela Guerrero and her fiance recently volunteered with their church who partnered with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley to deliver 300 meals to elderly residents at two local low-income retirement homes. Maricela said, “This effort was so well coordinated and in line with social distancing orders, that we would stack the boxes in front of their door, ring the doorbell and move on to the next door. I’m so grateful that we are in good health and have the ability to help others in need.”

Ram Parasuraman, Cohesity Head of Products, championed a neighborhood Pandemic Preparedness Team that coordinates shopping for grocery/essentials/medication for neighborhood seniors and crowdsources a newsletter of resources and ideas to get past this phase. 

First Responders Children’s Foundation board member and Cohesity Vice President of Channels Michael Houghton helped bring to fruition the Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America at the end of March. This encore benefit hosted by Elton John featuring performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Dave Grohl, Billie Eilish and Finneas, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Tim McGraw, Sam Smith, Demi Lovato, H.E.R., and Mariah Carey with special appearances from Ken Jeong, Ciara and Russell Wilson, Ryan Seacrest, Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone, Lady Gaga, Lizzo, and Ellen DeGeneres attracted almost 9 million TV viewers and raised nearly $8M for two charities for coronavirus relief: First Responders Children’s Foundation and Feeding America.

Alan's wife volunteeringCohesity Sales Engineer Alan Biren and his wife collected money to support local businesses, hoping to give them that little bit they needed to stay open and in business for when things would return to normal. Their goal was to raise money to purchase food from local establishments and provide meals to all hospital employees, not just the doctors and nurses. With the money raised, they’ve donated meals to local labs performing the COVID-19 test and the local police precincts as well, and others have joined in the effort. The group has raised currently over $30K which has provided over 2000 meals. With the success of this program a Fortune 100 company is stepping in to assist both with logistics and providing financial support.  

Cohesity Technologist Chris Colotti was also feeling the need to do something, so when he heard about about a project called Folding At Home whose software allows you to share your unused computer power to focus on disease research, he received approval to use Cohesity’s idled trade show demo hardware for the Folding at Home project. Chris wrote a blog post about his project to encourage others to donate their unused computing power to the project.

Additional ways Cohesity customers have been making a difference during this pandemic include:

  • Created a COVID-19 resource center website for customers
  • Shared #StayHome tips for county residents
  • 3D printing respirator valves
  • Made planes and helicopters available for Civil Protection health care operations

Here are some ideas if you’re looking for ways you can volunteer during the pandemic:

Written by


Holly Nielsen

Director, Social Media

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