By Amanda Peery-Wolf
Breaking News at GetUsPPE
We all need good news right about now. So at GetUsPPE, we were heartened by a major accomplishment this week, which we achieved thanks to some of the experienced doctors and scrappy volunteers on our team, along with two industry-leading businesses. In a joint effort with Boston Scientific and Amazon, GetUsPPE delivered one million face shields to hospitals and health centers in more than 40 US states and territories. Read all about it in our Press Release.
This story begins with the healthcare workers who registered their need for PPE on our site, helping us build the country’s largest database of PPE demand: the Demand Data Hub. Then Boston Scientific leapt into action to manufacture and donate protective equipment, with employees at twelve of their sites producing face shields by the box-full. Some of these boxes were loaded onto Amazon trucks, while others were transported by grassroots groups of volunteers. At the end of the line, all one million face shields were handed over to healthcare facilities in need from New York to the Navajo Nation.
The Indefatigable Verlon Jose
Tohono O’odham translates to “Desert People.” This is the name of a Native American tribe with 34,000 enrolled members whose land stretches from Southern Arizona into Mexico. Verlon Jose is the Governor of the Traditional O’odham Leaders.
While the state of Arizona reopens businesses, the Tohono O’odham Nation is still operating under a stay-at-home order and an enforced curfew. COVID-19 is not as widespread there as it is in the nearby Navajo Nation but, Verlon says, “we’re thinking ahead of the game.” There is just one grocery store on the reservation and there are many multigenerational homes, some without running water. Verlon says that COVID-19 “could wipe out our community just like that.”
Healthcare workers in Verlon’s Nation are in need of almost every type of PPE. ProtectNativeElders, a group working to address PPE shortages in tribal areas, helped coordinate the delivery of 1,000 face shields with GetUsPPE and Boston Scientific, along with 1,000 N95s from another group, NVIDIA. “When the supplies were delivered,” Verlon says, “there was a sense of relief…[there were] smiles on the faces of first responders.” The needs for PPE and essential goods are still great. Beyond that, the people of the Tohono O’odham Nation are highly concerned, but still working together to stay safe from the virus. Verlon Jose says, “We’ve been here 500 years and we’ll be here another 500 years. We’ll survive one way or another.”
Generosity Takes Flight
In the same area of the country, a father and a son–Todd and Asher Green–landed a small plane under a wide Arizona sky. They had come from Chicago, where they had loaded up the plane with about 10,000 donated respirators collected by the group GetMePPE Chicago.
In Tempe, Todd and Asher were met by volunteers from a nonprofit called StopTheBug. StopTheBug picked up the respirators and set out to distribute them to a dozen tribal nations. A final box was dropped off with the University of Nebraska’s UNMC CoRe: Covid Relief group.
A Call for Volunteers
At GetUsPPE, we’re growing quickly and we’re looking for volunteers to join our 200-plus-person central organization. We’re hoping to fill a wide variety of roles, so whether or not you have experience in healthcare or nonprofit work, you could be a much-needed volunteer. Check out our biggest needs here. Join the charge by filling out our volunteer form or emailing us with a brief description of any relevant skills and experience at email@example.com.
By Amanda Peery-Wolf, a writer, editor, poet, and member of the GetUsPPE Marketing and Communications Team.