The fear of getting sick and catching Corona Virus weighs heavily on me and I am fairly certain most share my concern. Not having enough PPE for the long haul exacerbates that fear, especially when there is talk of a second wave later in the year. After all, if those on the front lines are not protected, who will take care of us in our time of need? Employees of hospitals, nursing and retirement communities, home health agencies, the essential workers who continually serve us, including those working in the pharmacy, grocery stores, and restaurants are the silent heroes who are at risk every day. Not having an endless supply of PPE is troubling and something we one we once took for granted. Many that work in those industries say the worry and anxiety is real.
Over the past few months “What can I do to help?” continually ran through my head as I watched news briefings while sheltering in place. I wanted, no needed to do something to help, yet lack the essential skills - I don’t sew and fully admit that I am not clever enough to design a life-saving product made out of spare materials laying around the house, until now. A friend of mine told me about an organization she became involved with that makes and provides PPE to essential workers using office supplies. Out of need comes necessity and PPEopleBrigade was founded. PPEopleBrigade is a small volunteer run organization that crowd sources people and materials to make and provide face shields in North Carolina.
PPEopleBrigade started as a Do-It-Yourself idea by Paige Cox, a woman from Greensboro, NC and the organization has morphed into a grass-roots consortium pairing DIYers with easy to put together kits to make face shields. Supplies include transparency sheets, Velcro strips, adhesive foam band and staples – that’s it. Easy to follow videos and a complete supply list is readily available on the organization’s website https://ppeoplebrigade.com/ if you are inclined to make your own. My friend who started a chapter, dropped off materials at my front door. In the course of 4 hours, spread out over two days I made 100 shields. Instead of feeling helpless, I felt accomplished by doing something for my North Carolina community, and the greater good.
Through word of mouth, the organization has grown with 3 chapters within North Carolina to include Greensboro, Carrboro/Chapel Hill/Durham and North Raleigh in three months. Through the generous support of volunteer time, materials and monetary donations, PPEopleBrigade has made and distributed over 15,000 face shields to health care professionals in Nursing Homes, Home Healthcare Agencies, and small independent Doctor’s offices since the end of March 2020. Investing in PPEopleBrigade is a simple, tangible and significant way of giving back to those working within industries hardest hit by the Covid-19 virus. Doctors, Nurses, Healthcare Aides, Patients as well as all the others who keep facilities going. Plans during Phase 2 and 3 of re-opening North Carolina are for PPEopleBrigade to continue making face shields for those who need to include Restaurants, Nail Salons, Spas and Personal Service companies.
PPEopleBrigade saw the need, developed a plan, and implemented a solution that benefits everyone. At a time when we are all faced with uncertainty and that overwhelming feeling of helplessness, wouldn’t it be great use that energy for a worthy cause? The next time someone asks “What have you done lately?” I ask you to keep PPEopleBrigade in mind and get your stapler ready.
For more information about donations and/or making face shields, please go the the PPEopleBrigade website to find a local chapter or if you or want to start your own at https://ppeoplebrigade.com/https://ppeoplebrigade.com/