Karthiyayini Chandra, AmeriHealth Caritas

Karthiyayini Chandra, Programmer Analyst Senior, AmeriHealth Caritas, sews masks

Karthiyayini Chandra
Programmer Analyst Senior
AmeriHealth Caritas

Years with Company:
3 years and 7 months

Causes I care about:
I am very passionate about health care and food for the under-served population of Philadelphia. Since joining the company, I’ve started to take advantage of its volunteer program and have increased my volunteer time during the last year by helping at MANNA and Philabundance.

Where I’ve volunteered and why
More recently, I have been making cloth masks and distributing them to my neighbors and friends. I am part of a Facebook group that makes masks and distributes to those on the front line. Inspiration came from my mentor and trainer who was making masks in her town for firefighters and policemen. A neighbor supplied a sewing machine and with supplies from a colleague, I was able to start making them.

After a support meeting with one of our associates, I was telling her that these are extraordinary times and we have to be the best version of ourselves. While talking about my mentor and my inspiration to sew masks, she shared that she is a seamstress herself. We’ve since connected and have had an exchange of materials like elastic, which is in great short supply. She’s started making masks and distributing to her network of friends.

Through a mask-sharing Facebook page, I have started distributing masks to healthcare workers and their families and anyone who needs them. My older daughter is a cardiologist and I completely understand their sacrifice and risks they are facing every day to take care of critical patients. There is demand for scrub caps for the health care workers and I see that as my next sewing task.

Karthiyayini , at left, joins fellow members of AmeriHealth Caritas’s “Care, Crew”

Work/volunteer synergies

AmeriHealth Caritas has an excellent Community Service program called Care Crew. Volunteering and giving back to the community is part of our Annual Operating Goals. As an organization which serves the under-served population in the country, we genuinely believe in what we do. To this end, we can volunteer for up to sixteen hours of paid time.

In addition, there are several opportunities to volunteer at fund-raising events all throughout the year. Recently when in conversation with my colleague who sews and donates masks, I suggested we take it to our employee volunteer engagement professionals about recognizing this as a valid volunteer activity. They immediately discussed with their team and came up with a process to log the hours spent.

What volunteerism means to me
I truly believe we are all connected as one humanity and need to have empathy for our fellow human beings. I have volunteered at several events like MuckFest sponsored by the National MS Society, American Heart Association walk and Kidney Foundation walks. The volunteers from different organizations and the participating families are truly passionate about helping others and fundraising for research work.

The one takeaway that I get from volunteering opportunities is that we are all one, and the only true satisfaction you can get is by helping fellow human beings unconditionally to the maximum extent possible. I am very grateful to be an employee of a great company like AmeriHealth Caritas.