Four days ago I was made aware that nurses at a local hospital working on the front lines of COVID-19 were in dire need of a very basic piece of personal protection equipment — masks. The reality of the situation was stark, and still is. Nurses currently must use only one mask per patient, and must re-use that mask for 8 hours per patient. N95 masks are especially hard to come by at hospitals. They are considered the gold standard of masks because they achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. N95 masks, too, are being used for 8 hours. Even in cases in which a patient is on a ventilator.
“Please, if anyone has even one mask, it’s really needed. I can’t express how much any donation means,” came the nurse’s appeal.
I asked Swellesley readers if they could help out, and readers stepped up in a big way. Over two dozen of you have given over 200 masks to the cause. In the face of so much need, that may not sound like much. But try using the “every little bit helps” metric. The nurses do. I’m told these donations have been a tremendous morale booster for our essential care givers. “It makes me feel not alone on the front lines,” said one nurse. “That means the world.”
Because of your generous donations, local nurses feel supported, valued, SEEN. They say they feel like they can get through whatever challenges COVID-19 brings. That they will be there to help those who need care, and that the nurses will all be taking care of one another during this health emergency.
The donations, which are quarantined for three days before use, go directly to a local hospital, where we know there is need today. A facility where any of us, or our loved ones, may be admitted today, or tomorrow. Here at Swellesley, we’re all about local, as you know. So this donation drive is in keeping with our mission, and we are grateful to everyone who is helping us live local down to our very core.
“Please thank everyone who donated,” I was told.
Please continue to donate masks for our care givers. Email [email protected] Swellesley’s band of volunteers stands ready to pick up and deliver. From you, to our volunteers in charge of pick-up, to a nurse, to the hospital. That’s the chain of custody. No vague, “to the place with the most need,” promises. The fact is, there is great need is in every single hospital in the country. When you donate masks via Swellesley, you are filling a need right here. Think local. Be local.
On a lighter note…
Sights I’ve seen in the past 24 hours
A dad and his toddler daughter standing in front of their house, waving to passing cars.
A young woman on an isolated trail, her infant in a front carrier, her well-behaved dog along for the walk. We hastily branched off to give her all the space she deserved, and then some. A lady with a baby owns that trail, as far as we’re concerned.
A grocery store paper products aisle with two packages of toilet paper left, and two people at that end of the aisle. The sign said, “two packages per person only.” A woman picks up one package. She gestures to the other package and says to the gentleman keeping a respectful 6-foot distance, “I don’t need two packages. You take that one.”
A young man in Wellesley Square Post Office Square wearing a mask, donation bag in hand. I was late. It was cold. Thank you for not giving up on me.