Henry Schein employees, customers send care kits to Ukraine refugees

Henry Schein Inc. is sending hygiene packages for refugees in Ukraine
Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 7:11 PM PST
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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) -The war in Ukraine has produced a humanitarian problem of historic proportions.

Nearly 8 million people have fled the violence to other countries, a similar number have been displaced within Ukraine. Most were left only with what they could carry. International aid organizations have stepped in with services, but sometimes it’s the smallest of gestures that can bring comfort and a sense of normalcy to someone on the run.

Things like personal hygiene products. Some of the very items the local employees at Henry Schein ship out of its Sparks warehouse every day.

There’s long been a culture of community service here, so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that an effort to do something for displaced Ukrainians emerged. “We wre excited about the idea,” says Human Resources Manager Heather Burkhardt.

Upper management was on board and so too, it was soon discovered, were many in its customer base, medical and dental offices.

A list of needed items was assembled and one Saturday, employees gathered to put together hygiene kits. toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo and the like.

“We didn’t know how our people were going to react because when you pick and pack all day five days a week and then you\’re going to come at pick and pack on a Saturday and you aren’t going to be paid for it, but all of our team members showed up with their kids and their families,” said Burkhardt.

They were joined by many of their customers. “One of our largest dental customers, the head, showed up and brought and brought his grandkids.”

Working with international aid organizations thousands of hygiene kits were shipped to Ukraine and Poland.

”One of the women who showed up, she has a sister who is in Ukraine during all of this. She got her on Zoom during it and they were both crying. She thought it was very impactful.”

We would all wish the war would stop tomorrow, but if the need continues, those on this end appear ready to do it again.