Built with hard work, dedication, and commitment to customers and community, AJM Packaging Corporation has been a fixture of the metro Detroit area for more than 60 years. The company has grown into one of the nation’s leading paper product manufacturers, creating thousands of jobs across 8 manufacturing plants, including a plant in the original red brick building where founders Abram, Jack, and Morris Epstein began the business so many years ago.
To this day, despite its national presence, AJM remains a family-owned and run business and it applies those strong family values to its communities. AJM’s strong ethics and values have been on display throughout its management of COVID-19. When the pandemic began to impact local communities, AJM quickly implemented rigorous safety precautions at manufacturing plants, distributing thousands of masks and gloves to employees, taking temperature checks, and increasing the frequency with which communal surfaces were sanitized. But, AJMs management’s thoughtful mindset extended beyond the walls of its paper product manufacturing plants.
Responding to COVID-19
When the coronavirus began to spread rapidly in the United States, there was serious concern that the virus could overwhelm the healthcare system in major cities across the country. Protective equipment was scarce in places, and at times hospital staff was forced to re-use their face masks by storing them in disposable paper bags between uses. That is where AJM Packaging came in.
The Detroit area was particularly hard hit by COVID-19 and early in the pandemic, AJM Packaging saw an opportunity to provide for its community. While many organizations lined up monetary donations (which are certainly helpful and appreciated), AJM Packaging donated more than a million bags to three local hospitals to be used to keep medical professionals’ PPE safe and clean.
Many companies might have left it there, been proud of themselves, and rested on the “good press” of a charitable deed. But that would not align with AJM Packaging’s values. The company took it a step farther and has continued to give back to areas hit hard by the pandemic.
In May, an employee working the nightshift at Houston Methodist Willowbrook to fight COVID-19 sent AJM a note of gratitude for their paper bags, which allowed her to store her PPE. After AJM leadership reached out to thank the employee for her note, they made the decision to donate an additional 267,000 bags to her Houston-based hospital.
The same week, AJM donated over half a million bags to hospitals in Joplin, where one of their plants is located. To date, over 1.75 million bags have been donated to hospitals by AJM.
Living Values Out Loud
In a time overshadowed by grief and fear, it is interactions like that between AJM Packaging and Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital that demonstrates the real spirit of a community. Rather than simply taking care of oneself, closing off, and entering survival mode, these people and groups are showing that there is value in going beyond, staying connected, and supporting others, even when the world seems to be falling apart. A contribution like that of AJM Packaging can provide hope to an entire community.
As the U.S. continues to fight this deadly disease, it is absolutely essential that our communities evolve and elevate our values. Now more than ever, we must go out of our way to support one another in times of trouble. Gone are the days when companies could operate with a “heads down” mentality. Fortunately for the greater Detroit region, AJM Packaging has a lot of practice at being a value-adding member of the community.