AROUND THE VALLEY
UMass Lowell Donates Protective Equipment to Health Care Workers, First Responders
Photo at top of page: Face shields, gloves and gowns like the ones shown being worn here by UMass Lowell students and faculty were among the personal protective equipment recently donated by the university to local hospitals, health organizations and first responders. Shown from left are students Lindsay McGrail and Benedicta Agyemang-Brantuo, Assistant Teaching Prof. Arlee Dulak and student Rachely Romero. (UMass Lowell courtesy photo)
When local health care organizations and first responders rang the alarm about shortages of protective equipment, UMass Lowell responded.
The university’s Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences and Kennedy College of Sciences recently donated face shields, masks, gloves, surgical gowns, eyewear and more for workers who are on the front lines of fighting COVID-19.
The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been of critical concern as the number of coronavirus cases has surged across the U.S. Without proper protection, health care workers and emergency responders are at risk of getting and spreading infection.
Areas of the college that provided equipment include medical laboratory sciences, physical therapy and kinesiology, and the Solomont School of Nursing. Recipients of the college’s donations include Lowell General Hospital and Lowell Community Health Center.
“Nurses are the frontline health providers during normal times, frequently sacrificing their own health and safety to care for and protect their patients,” said Solomont School of Nursing Dean Leslie Neal-Boylan. “All health care professionals need the appropriate gear, tools and staffing to combat this pandemic and we are happy to do our part.”
In the Kennedy College of Sciences, donations like isopropyl alcohol, disposable gowns and about 40,000 gloves were provided by the departments of chemistry and biological sciences to local providers including Lowell General Hospital, Lawrence General Hospital and the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center.
UMass Lowell’s Office of Life Safety and Emergency Management also recently donated a range of protective equipment — Tyvek suits, face shields, masks, gloves and more — to first responders in the city of Lowell. The office is also coordinating responses to requests for PPE as departments across the campus identify available supplies.
Lowell CHC Seeks Support
Lowell Community Health Center was founded in 1970 to make sure that everyone in Greater Lowell has access to quality, compassionate, and culturally responsive health care, regardless of ability to pay.
Adjusting operations to meet this challenge has put a strain on the organization — physically, mentally and financially. Although federal and state assistance is on its way, it alone won’t help them regain their footing. Consider making a donation at LcHealth.org/about/donate/form.
GLCF Receives $100K Grant as Part of Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation’s Commitment to Aid Communities Impacted by the COVID-19 Crisis
The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) announced today that it has received a $100,000 grant from Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation. The grant is part of a $3 million commitment Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation is targeting in financial support to area nonprofits focused on COVID-19 relief. This is, in turn, part of an over $10 million commitment Eastern Bank has made to aid individuals and families, small businesses and nonprofit organizations impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
The grant will support the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund which supports the unanticipated needs of those nonprofits serving vulnerable populations in Greater Lowell, such as the elderly, low-income and homeless, during these uncertain times.
Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation’s COVID-19 relief is helping communities across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island with grants supporting regional community organizations’ assistance; as well as nonprofit partners providing relief in food security, support to small businesses with a focus on small businesses of color, and across the community healthcare system. This commitment is in addition to Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation’s already-planned $10 million in community support for 2020.
Donations to the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund can be made online at Glcfoundation.org or by mail to the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund c/o GLCF, 100 Merrimack Street, Suite 202, Lowell, MA 01852.
NECC Creates Emergency Fund for Students Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic
Many Northern Essex Community College (NECC) students are living paycheck to paycheck with limited resources, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more challenging for them to continue their education.
Recognizing how difficult this is, Northern Essex has created the NECC Student Emergency Fund to help at-risk students stay in college. The fund will cover laptop and/or internet access for online learning; tuition assistance and stipends, should students now be food insecure because of lost wages; and other needs that are connected with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our students are driven, smart, curious, and unique,” said Allison Dolan-Wilson, vice president of institutional advancement, “but they are also vulnerable.”
According to Dolan-Wilson, more than half of the Northern Essex student body is Pell Grant eligible, meaning their families have a total income of $50,000 or less.
“Our students need us now more than ever. We need to support their desire to continue their education,” said Dolan-Wilson.
ECCF Awards Bread & Roses $2,500 in Phase I of COVID-19 Response Fund
The Essex County Community Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund has awarded a first round of grants, totaling $317,000, to 35 nonprofits on the front lines of the COVID-19 health crisis and serving the most vulnerable populations in our region.
Bread & Roses has recently received $2,500 to bolster the organization’s food support programs, in particular providing food outreach to agencies across the Merrimack Valley as they struggle to meet a rise in demand for services. Due to concerns for the safety of guests, staff, and volunteers, Bread & Roses has temporarily suspended programs operating out of 58 Newbury Street. However, Bread & Roses remains a source of critical food support in Lawrence and beyond through the continuation and expansion of its Community Food Outreach program. Equipped with two outreach vans, Bread & Roses receives and distributes meals and bulk food donations on a daily basis to agencies serving those most at-risk in the current crisis including substance abuse treatment centers, homeless shelters and emergency food pantries.
To donate to the Bread & Roses COVID-19 Response appeal, click here.
Frontline Workers Brave Keep Lazarus House Shelter Open
The frontline workers at the Lazarus House emergency shelter are rewarded each day for the peril of leaving their homes. In the midst of the pandemic, they are anxiously trying to keep the shelter open for the families and individuals for whom it is their only sanctuary.
“The guests at the shelter don’t have people they can rely on. A lot of the people don’t have anyone else in the world. Their fear is, ‘If I lose Lazarus House, where will I go?’” said Almarie Silverman, director of advocacy, who especially worries about a woman who is nine months pregnant.
Another staff member working to keep it open is Carmen Vega, shelter program director, who comes in each day feeling her family’s worry that she will bring COVID-19 home. She only recently was able to wear a mask.
“We didn’t have masks, so I felt it wasn’t fair if I was wearing a mask and my staff could not,” Vega said.
Vega said the shelter “smells like bleach,” as the staff and shelter guests thoroughly follow the protocol — taking precautions of social distancing, wearing masks and regularly disinfecting common areas. They know that does not eliminate the risk, but they all keep doing it to make sure they can stay at the only place they have left.
“It’s scary. I am a woman of faith, so I pray and ask God to cover me,” said Vega. “My family would wish that I wouldn’t come in, but this is my job. This is what I love to do.”
GLFHC Issues COVID-19 Response Update
Last week, GLFHC created the GLFHC COVID-19 Response Fund to address the needs of the health center and the growing concern that their frontline health care staff and clinicians are at risk. Since then, many friends of the organization have provided philanthropic support to meet the critical needs of these workers as they focus on patients in a collective fight against COVID-19.
Lawrence Family Medicine resident physicians, nurses, pharmacy staff, and other frontline employees are dealing with some of the most challenging health care issues they have ever faced. Although the GLFHC has a fully functioning telehealth program for patients, respiratory illness teams and physicians continue to see patients at their sites and at the local hospital. These team members also have to care for their own health and that of their families.
The GLFHC COVID-19 Response Fund will help meet the daily needs of these frontline health care workers and keep them safe as they continue to fulfill the health center’s mission. With close to 62,000 registered patients, they will continue to provide care on a daily basis. But to do that they must keep their staff healthy and safe. Please consider a gift to the GLFHC COVID-19 Response Fund.