Career and technical educators are making the most of their students’ absence by donating unused medical equipment to Legacy Health.
With health care workers locally and across the country in desperate need of equipment, medical providers are increasingly turning to public donation for masks, gloves and other personal protective gear.
“I got to thinking about my health sciences programs and some of the other programs that use gloves and other protective equipment,” said Margaret Rice, director of the career and technical education program in the Washougal School District. After all, she said, students aren’t using them; schools are closed through April 24.
So, Rice put out the call to other districts. Between Washougal, Ridgefield and Vancouver, the districts rounded up 166 pairs of protective glasses, 141 boxes of gloves, 1,930 masks of various types, 13 bottles of hand sanitizer and two boxes of technology wipes to give the hospital system Friday.
“We’re a small district, but if we pool our resources we might be able to make a significant impact,” she said.
Rice anticipates the school districts will be able to make additional donations in the coming weeks. She has a delivery of masks headed her way that was delayed from before the outbreak began in the United States, so she’s planning on delivering the box straight to Legacy.
“Everything seems like a challenge,” Rice said. “We have to pull together. We have to rely on each other in ways we’ve never had to before.”
Lesley Reid, manager of annual giving and events at the Legacy Health Office of Philanthropy and Community Engagement, said the hospital system has seen an outpouring of support from community members looking to help them during the pandemic. Schools, restaurants, nail salons and tattoo parlors have all stepped up to provide equipment that would otherwise go unused as businesses are shutting their doors.
“It just speaks to the nature that we’re helpers,” Reid said. “Everyone wants that front-line support to know we’re here for them.”
Legacy Health is continuing to accept donations of sealed personal protective equipment. Donors should email the Legacy Health Office of Philanthropy and Community Engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-415-4700 to donate. PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center is also accepting supplies, including lab testing supplies, personal protective equipment and sanitation material. Interested donors should contact email@example.com.