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Like Daughter, Like Mother: A Get Us PPE Volunteer Story

By May 7, 2021June 9th, 2021No Comments

A look at the mother-daughter team that helped distribute over 160,000 masks for the Greater San Diego Area. 

This past winter, at the height of the third wave of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., Get Us PPE partnered with the Chicano Federation to distribute KN95s and 3-ply masks for the Greater San Diego area. The experience was cathartic, giving Get Us PPE Equity Team volunteers an opportunity to participate in the distribution process by contacting recipients and determining the planned PPE allocation.

Moreso, it gave Joanna Calderón, Get Us PPE’s Deputy Director for Health Equity, a chance to share the ‘on the ground’ PPE experience with her mom, Ruth Robles-Goche.

Joanna Calderon and her mom, Ruth Robles-Roche volunteer to distribute PPE in San Diego

Meet Ruth Robles-Goche

Ruth Robles-Goche is a mother, avid cook, and retired pediatrician. When the pandemic broke out in the U.S., she searched for ways to become involved, but as an older adult, it was too risky for her to volunteer in healthcare centers as she would’ve wanted. “She thought she could maybe translate for COVID-19 patients that primarily speak Spanish,” Joanna said, “but had to decide against it because she knew she was high-risk and there wasn’t enough protective equipment to keep her safe.” Still, Ruth looked for ways to be involved. On one occasion, she helped assemble maker-made face shields for Get Us PPE’s distribution to schools.

Ruth Robles-Goche with boxes of PPE for distribution

Ruth told Get Us PPE it was a wonderful experience “to be part of the work that benefits so many persons in need.”

When Joanna told her mom that she’d be distributing PPE in San Diego and Ruth asked to come along – even though she wasn’t entirely sure what she’d be doing. “When she got to the storage unit building, my mom thought she might be a spectator,” Joanna said, “she thought I’d be there with my coworkers and she might need to stay out of the way.” Instead, Joanna was alone on-site and her mom jumped into getting the PPE amounts ready for pick-up, adding “I genuinely could not have made it through that day without her help.” Luckily, Ruth was able to return and this mother-daughter team carried out four more days of PPE distribution over a two-week period.

Mother-Daughter Fun

Ruth enjoyed the work they did because it allowed her “to be part of the work that benefits so many persons in need.” But what Ruth enjoyed most was having an opportunity to work with her daughter. “It was a wonderful experience to be able to work with my daughter on something that she puts her heart into,” Ruth told Get Us PPE. 

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It was a wonderful experience to be able to work with my daughter on something that she puts her heart into. – Ruth Robles-Roche

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Together with the support of the Equity Team volunteers scheduling PPE pick-ups and the Chicano Federation, they distributed 34,770 KN95s and 130,210 3-ply masks. Joanna adds that Ruth was excited to hear the final tally of masks distributed. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ruth had searched for a way to give back to the community. Signing up to distribute KN95s and 3-ply masks for Get Us PPE was the perfect way for her to get involved, bonding with her daughter was a plus.


Get Us PPE thanks its wonderful Equity Team volunteers: Katie Lingen, Samantha Ferraro, Davy Deng, Emily Kwan, and Eileen Hanlon. We also want to acknowledge the Chicano Federation and Last Mile San Diego for making it possible to distribute personal protective equipment to the Greater San Diego area.

Please help us get PPE to communities at risk. A $5 donation can supply an N95 for a healthcare worker.

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Kat Elieth Porras Gonzalez