Amcham: Please introduce your company and yourself to our readers
Vicki Sorg: I am Vicki Sorg, Charity Ambassador of PM-International. Our charity foundation, PM We Care, in cooperation with the relief, development and advocacy organization World Vision, is committed to helping children, their families and communities all over the world for almost 20 years. Today, we sponsor more than 4,000 children in 25 countries all over the world.
Our company, PM-International, is one of the world’s largest direct selling companies in the areas of health, fitness, and beauty, based in Schengen, Luxembourg. Founded in 1993, PM-International develops and markets high-quality, premium nutritional supplements and cosmetics through our own brand FitLine®.
Please explain to our readers what and why you and your company are doing so much to support Ukraine and its people by providing emergency food, medical and logistics supplies
From the moment this war started, we knew we had to help. Our business is based on values, and solidarity, kindness and being there for one another are at the very top of that list. Within the first days, we set up an emergency relief fund of 1 million Euros because we knew that this was not the time to talk, but act. From the very first moments on, we were in direct contact with our employees and distributors in Ukraine to get the information of what is needed firsthand.
Besides getting close to 100 pallets of relief supplies on the road so far, we already sent a bus to the Ukrainian border to bring far more than 50 refugees including many children safely to Germany. Further transports are planned.
Please explain why now, 2 months into this conflict, there is still such an enormous need for further ongoing supplies and logistics support in Ukraine?
By now, we see that this war will not end anytime soon. That is the sad reality of it. The situation for many of the affected regions is getting worse by the day and they need all help they can get.
We want to help in the long term. Thanks to our employees and distribution partners in Ukraine and in Poland, we are quite well connected and get reliable information on what humanitarian aid is urgently needed and where we can distribute it to.
Which specific supplies are you arranging to distribute, how you will do that and what steps are being taken to ensure the supplies are properly delivered to those in greatest need and without diversion by theft and miss-use?
We have trusted employees and distributors in Ukraine who help us to determine which humanitarian aid we are sending into the country. The first items on the lists are always medical and hygiene supplies, water, and food. We specifically delivered – and continue to deliver – our FitLine Power Meal bars. For many years already the FitLine Power Meal bar is part of PM-International’s product range. This charity bar was especially developed to provide fast and uncomplicated help. As a high-calorie complete meal and energy bar with all the necessary vitamins and minerals, it can be consumed completely temperature-independent within twelve months. In total, we will be donating more than 1 million additional Power Meal bars in a campaign together with our distribution partners and an additional donation budget of 1 million Euros.
All items are delivered through the infrastructure we have been using for years, and distributed by our trusted employees, business partners, and funds in Ukraine. They are doing a great job on the ground and deliver everything where it’s urgently needed.
Who are your current partners in this project and what are they doing?
So far, we are working with the Mayor and City of Speyer, Germany, where our European Headquarters are located, as well as several German hospitals, companies and grocery stores donating relief items. We realized several relief item transports together in a great team work. This approach of joining forces with everyone providing what they are best at has worked very well and we aim at realizing a similar effort here in Luxembourg.
What sort of new partners are you looking for and why?
Currently, we are addressing supermarkets and businesses around our Headquarters in Schengen, with a main focus on the tripoint Germany, France and Luxembourg with its bordering communities, asking them to donate food, hygiene and medical supplies. We are supporting this relief action by providing a truck and by taking care of the logistics and transportation from Schengen to the Ukraine.
I would like to take this opportunity to address all business owners in Luxembourg: If you can, please help us to support the people in need by donating relief supplies. If you want to donate, please get in touch with us via email@example.com. Thanks to our on-site contacts in the crisis area we know firsthand what is urgently needed.
How can private people and companies join you as partners in this effort?
At this stage of war, with more people being injured and fleeing the Ukraine, food, hygiene and medical supplies are needed in huge quantities. In order for our logistics to work smoothly and make sure the goods get to where they are needed as fast as possible, donations prepared on pallets with weight references noted are best. That’s why we are currently focusing on asking businesses rather than individuals for their donations in kind. In the end, every little helps. We appreciate anyone who is willing to help and encourage individuals who want to do so, to donate money that we then, together with our donation amount, use to buy the goods that are needed the most.
How long do you believe this project will be required and ongoing to support the inhabitants of Ukraine?
No one can say this at the moment. All we know is that the situation is still critical and that we help where we can.
Besides financial contribution support, what other help is needed?
As we know, the refugees and affected people need food, medication, medical help, accommodation, just everything that is essential for life and survival. But besides fast short-term help, sustainable aid also plays an important role in humanitarian aid. Food, drink and a place to sleep is not enough in the long-term. We think it is important that they get the opportunity to learn our languages, education, trainings and, above all be able to work. Empowering people them to help themselves is key. That’s why we really appreciate AMCHAM’s initiative and orientation classes for Ukrainian displaced persons arriving in Luxembourg.