by Robin Nierynck
Hero of the Week: “An event like Hero Month really reminds people of the power they have to make a difference”
October is Hero Month at our Hero Hub, a time for our Heroes to get involved and give something back to the community. These 31 days (and beyond) we’re partnering with numerous organizations throughout Berlin, joining forces to make the biggest possible impact for the better. Every week, we spotlight some of our extraordinary Heroes, who have gone above and beyond in making a positive change.
Sometimes all people need is a reminder of the good they can do in the world. This is what our Volunteer Champion Fiorella Merkle, realized over the course of Hero Month.
Fiorella is Head of Marketing for foodora Germany, and has been at Delivery Hero for two and a half years. As we roll into the last week of October, Fiorella looks back at her experiences, the benefits of volunteering, and how everyone has the power to do good.
How did you first get into volunteering?
During my semester abroad in NYC, I came face to face with real poverty for the first time. I was shocked by how many people lived on the street, without proper clothes or food. I decided that I wanted to make my time there count, and started volunteering with an organization that mainly focuses on helping homeless people. I soon realized that the gratitude you experience, even for a small gesture, is the greatest gift.
Why did you get involved as a Volunteer Champion?
Once I heard about Hero Month, I wanted to do more than just to volunteer. It was important to me to really get involved and to understand how the organization I’d be volunteering for works and what its main needs are.
What charity are you partnering with and why?
I chose the Ronald McDonald House Wedding. The Ronald McDonald House provides a home for more than 500 families a year – families with children that are seriously ill and are being treated at nearby hospitals. The first time I visited the house, I was warmly welcomed by Cindy, the manager of this particular house. I spent about two hours with her, learning about how they run the house and how much they are helping the families.
“It was important to me to really get involved and understand how the organization works”
Cindy and her team give the families a home away from home – a place where they can feel loved, even in hard times. There are families from all over the world, and people with many different backgrounds, but everyone is in the same boat and they can look to each other for support.
The team organizes breakfasts and a dinner once a week, and they celebrate every birthday and every holiday. Our volunteers prepared communal meals for the families and repainted parts of the house to make their temporary home a great place to stay.
Why do you think it is important to give back as a company?
It’s important to remember that every single person can do good. But as a company you have a totally different power and reach, which we should use to make a positive impact. It’s great that Delivery Hero, which works with food and restaurants every day, thinks about how to give back to people who can’t afford warm meals.
What has been the most rewarding moment of Hero Month?
Seeing the parents and siblings of the ill children smile. The people we met at the Ronald McDonald House go through pain that most of us can’t imagine. Being able to give something back and make them feel better, even if just for a moment, is priceless.
What have you learnt from your experience as a Volunteer Champion?
It really showed me that once in a while people just need to be reminded of the good work they can do as an individual. A lot of people want to do good and give something back, but life gets in the way. An event like Hero Month can really remind people of the power they have to make a difference.
“The employee response was great and I hope this will only grow as we continue to organize events in the future”
I organized three initiatives during Hero Month, all of them at the Ronald McDonald House. They were all full after two days, with many people on the waiting list. The employee response was great and I hope this will only grow as we continue to organize events in the future.
How can employees benefit from taking part in volunteering during Hero Month and beyond?
I think it was an enriching experience for employees from different departments to come together, get to know each other, and connect with a cause. Giving something back to people who need it can be far more rewarding than receiving any physical gift, and I think our volunteers really saw that at the Ronald McDonald House.
What are your hopes for Hero Month? What would you like to achieve in the future?
Actually, my hopes already turned into reality. I hoped that the participants would feel as touched by Cindy and her work as I am. Already after the first initiative at the house, I had volunteers reaching out to me about how we could continue to support them after Hero Month.