Workers pitch in to help colleagues cope with crises

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When a Meridian Health employee lacked the money to bury a parent, she turned to the organization’s “When In Need” (WIN) employee emergency fund.

Meridian Health, a group of nonprofit health care organizations in central New Jersey, created the WIN fund in 2001. The program allows Meridian Health’s 8,300 employees to contribute to a common fund through the Meridian Affiliated Foundations.    

Once a year, employees who choose to participate can donate any amount to the WIN fund through a one-time contribution or payroll deduction, says John Sindoni, senior vice president for HR.

To use the WIN fund, employees must be past their initial 90-day probation period and must face their crises “through no fault of their own,” according to Sindoni. The WIN fund can pay for daily necessities such as utilities, food and clothes.

“We had an employee who suffered from a fire, one [who was] given security money for an apartment and one whose gas was going to be cut off,” Sindoni says.

An employee/staff committee at each Meridian Health site decides how to disburse the funds.

Contact: Wendy Edelson at (732) 751-7560 or wedelson@meridianhealth.com.

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