Donations around state back healthcare workers

Volunteers unload donations during a drop-off at Westown Movie Complex in Middletown on Saturday. Business leaders and ChristianaCare partnered to open donation sites in Newport and Middletown to collect PPE, personal protective equipment, for healthcare workers. Delaware State News/Brooke Schultz

MIDDLETOWN — From pallets containing thousands of goggles and lab coats, to a box of tissues or gloves, donations across the state have been coming in to support health care workers as they face COVID-19.

“I always think of Delaware sort of as extended family,” said Kristen Raber, corporate director for ChristianaCare. “I think this experience just shows how much we all think of ourselves as a family within Delaware. Our caregivers have dedicated their lives to taking care of others and I think this is a wonderful opportunity where Delawareans — business leaders and individuals in our community — are showing that love right back to want to protect us as well.”

On Saturday and Sunday, ChristianaCare collected donations for PPE — personal protective equipment — at the Westown Movie Theater Complex. It is the second site the health care provider and business leaders opened, after the first was a success in Newport.

The drop-off donation centers are part of a joint effort between ChristianaCare and business leaders Richard Piendak and Dave Tiberi.
The centers have brought in more than 1,500 boxes of gloves, 3,700 N95 face masks, 22 bottles of two-liter sanitizer and about 1,600 pieces of eyewear, Ms. Raber said.

Ms. Raber said that having PPE for caregivers in times of crisis is something they prepare for, but this is an unusual time.

“We’re looking out at the horizon to make sure: are we as prepared as possible for what’s potentially coming our way?” she said. “So if we can start collecting those items from the community, unused items that they have — perhaps they over prepared for this pandemic, and now they find that they’re at home most of the time, practicing social isolation as they should. … Or perhaps they have things that hide in their closets for a while that that they don’t need anymore.”

Mr. Tiberi said that Mr. Piendak came to him with a concern about caregivers’ access to PPE. The two began talking about who in the community could help and who would benefit. Working with Sen. Nicole Poore, D-New Castle, the business community came together to start the first site.

“Just seeing the response at Newport showed the tremendous need,” Mr. Tiberi said.

He added that health care providers aren’t “in sprint mode, but in marathon mode” when it comes to collecting and using PPE to be prepared for the pandemic.

“What I love is not many places in the country could do something this special,” he said.

There are more donation sites to come, Ms. Raber said. She said that Mr. Tiberi and Mr. Piendak are working with other health care systems to make sure “everyone gets the PPE they need.”

“Just overwhelming in the generosity, and I think we can’t be underprepared for this,” she said. “And I think that you can see that as you look across the country and the world. So as much as people can do, we appreciate it.”

ChristianaCare and the community leaders will have more information on where to donate, at ChristianaCare.org and donatede.org.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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