Grace Farms Foundation Organizes Effort to Get and Distribute PPE, Relief During COVID-19 Crisis

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A total of 120,000 respirator masks, a third of them N95 masks, have been delivered or are on the way to hospitals and first responders through two funds set up by Grace Farms Foundation and aided by other philanthropic partners, the foundation announced on Thursday.

In addition, the Grace Farms has procured and already delivered more than 32,000 surgical masks and 4,000 isolation coveralls to 13 area hospitals, COVID-19 clinics, and the first responders in 14 local towns, the foundation said.

Here in the southwest quarter of Connecticut, where the COVID-19 epidemic is now more intense than elsewhere in the state, the foundation has provided additional help. The announcement said:

“Hundreds of thousands of additional respirator masks, gowns/coveralls and face shields are expected to arrive within days, and will be distributed again by New Canaan Fire Department volunteers to local first responders in Fairfield County and healthcare workers at Community Health Centers, Stamford Health [Stamford Hospital], Norwalk Hospital, Danbury Hospital, and St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, and Yale New Haven Health, which serves six hospitals.”

Full Text of the Announcement

Here’s the full announcement (Darienite.com has moved some paragraphs and added subheadings for greater clarity):

Grace Farms Foundation today announced the Grace Farms Relief Fund for Connecticut, established with private donations totaling $2.5 million to help address the critical shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care workers in Fairfield and New Haven counties.

Grace Farms Foundation has also organized the Grace Farms Alliance Against COVID-19, an effort comprised of more than half a dozen partner organizations, including Town of New Canaan Emergency Management, Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc., Ningxia Yanbao Foundation, and Helena Foundation to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. A full list of Alliance members can be found at the end of this release.

The scarcity of PPE for health care workers has become a dire need in hospitals and municipalities across the country. In response to these desperate and life-threatening conditions, Grace Farms Foundation is using its knowledge of complex global supply chains and unique ability to convene partners across sectors to help.

Grace Farms Foundation PPE

Photo by Theresa Bowling

Paul Darragh, CRNA and Theresa Bowling, MD at St. Vincent\’s Medical Center in Bridgeport in coveralls from Grace Farms Foundation.

Through the collective and all-in efforts of the Grace Farms Relief Fund for Connecticut and Grace Farms Alliance Against COVID-19, the foundation has been able to source, purchase, and deliver respirator masks and other medical necessities, effectively navigating complex bureaucratic roadblocks around the world.

As of today, 120,000 respirator masks, including more than 40,000 N95 masks and 80,000 KN95 masks have been delivered or are en route to local hospitals, first responders, and COVID-19 clinics in Connecticut.

In addition, more than 32,000 surgical masks, and 4,000 isolation coveralls have already been received by 13 area hospitals, COVID-19 clinics, and 14 local townships’ first responders to date.

Hundreds of thousands of additional respirator masks, gowns/coveralls and face shields are expected to arrive within days, and will be distributed again by New Canaan Fire Department volunteers to local first responders in Fairfield County and healthcare workers at Community Health Centers, Stamford Health [Stamford Hospital], Norwalk Hospital, Danbury Hospital, and St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, and Yale New Haven Health which serves six hospitals.

PPE on two nurses at St. Vincent's Medical Center

Photo by Theresa Bowling

Nurse Allison Gorlo, CRNA and Latisha Pettway, CRNA, at St. Vincent Medical Center in Bridgeport, both in PPE provided by Grace Farms Foundartion.

“As the COVID-19 crisis escalates, it is clear that pressing humanitarian issues can be solved when the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors collaborate locally and globally,” said Sharon Prince, Grace Farms Foundation founder and CEO. “Grace Farms was created as a platform where individuals and organizations can come together to advance good and create new outcomes.

“At this pivotal moment, we coalesced networks and leaders ranging from local businesswomen to kindred innovative foundations, global corporations and our local government to earnestly identify, source and land legitimate PPE supplies in real time.”

“Grace Farms Foundation’s highest priority is to get essential respirator masks and other PPE rightly into the hands of our heroic health care workers and first responders treating patients across Connecticut,” Prince said. “I am completely in awe of how the New Canaan Emergency Management, Fire, and Police Departments are not only responding to COVID-19 calls locally, but have also been volunteering since March 28 to deliver PPE within hours of its receipt throughout Fairfield and New Haven counties. Our alliance and community’s interconnected operations have made all the difference.”

Grace Farms Foundation will continue to work with New Canaan Emergency Management and Connecticut hospital administrators to identify new needs that surface as the COVID19 crisis continues.

COVID Network

In addition to purchasing PPE, a $250,000 donation from the Relief Fund has been used to support Helena Foundation’s COVID Network.

The COVID Network is a non-profit, open-source platform that lets organizations in need of critical medical supplies request help from healthcare and government leaders.

The Network’s purpose is to answer the most critical questions facing those with the power to deliver aid, including where extra supplies such as masks, gloves, and ventilators, and doctors themselves, are most needed now, and where will they be most needed tomorrow, next week and beyond.

The Helena Foundation is a unique, global institution that develops projects aimed to address critical societal problems.

Reactions From Philanthropic Partners, Recipients

PARTNERS IN GIVING:

—”In times of global crisis like this, the nature of the game is coordination and speed,” said Henry Elkus, Helena Foundation founder and CEO. “Those who have access to up-to-date data and can mobilize quickly and efficiently will save lives and combat the spread. We are proud to partner with Grace Farms Foundation to do this at a national scale.”

—“We were delighted to help Grace Farms Foundation quickly find a reliable supplier of PPE’s and have been inspired by the impact that their swift action will have in addressing such a critical need,” said Brian O’Flynn, director of global commercial product marketing at Hamilton Beach Brands Inc.

—Carl Kuehner, chairman of Building and Land Technology (BLT), said: “BLT is privileged to be part of a team that is filling such a critical void. Finding creative solutions to complex problems is important; but, proving able to execute the strategy is what really matters in a crisis.”

THOSE GETTING:

—”Our first responders and front-line healthcare providers have been placed in an untenable position of having to care for our community without the proper equipment,” said Michael Handler, director of New Canaan Emergency Management. “Our efforts to bridge the gap until domestic resources become available is vital to keeping them safe and continuing to care for the sick.”

—“Yale New Haven Health is so thankful for the generosity that Grace Farms Foundation has shown our patients and caregivers, by donating an enormous amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used immediately,” said Lorraine Lee, vice president of corporate pharmacy and corporate supply chain services at Yale New Haven Health. “It is supportive partnerships like this that will allow us to approach the challenges of COVID-19 together.”

—“We are incredibly grateful for Grace Farms Foundation’s efforts to forge this innovative alliance,” said Kathleen Silard, president & CEO of Stamford Health [Stamford Hospital]. “PPE like masks, gowns and gloves, is a critical resource that helps us keep our physicians, nurses and staff on the front lines safe and healthy – so that they can keep caring for the community we are honored to serve.”

—“We are grateful to Grace Farms Foundation for addressing the PPE shortage and providing critical medical supplies to our doctors, nurses and patients as we fight COVID-19,” said Dr. Theresa Bowling, an anesthesiologist at St. Vincent’s Medical Center. “This PPE allows us to go to work each day knowing we have the necessary protection to ensure we can do our jobs to the best of our abilities and provide high-quality care to our patients, without the added fear of becoming sick ourselves or spreading the virus to others.”

Other Grace Farms COVID-19 Efforts

In addition to launching the Relief Fund and Alliance to address the PPE shortage, Grace Farms Foundation has also responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by preparing and delivering food to those in need in New Canaan and surrounding communities.

Through partnerships with nine not-for-profit organizations in Fairfield County, Grace Farms Foundation is providing 1,000 meals and pantry staples weekly to those experiencing food insecurity.

Philanthropic Partners, Recipients

  • Grace Farms Foundation is actively seeking additional philanthropic support to ensure the Relief Fund continues to fill the need for PPE throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Those interested in supporting the Fund and learning about Grace Farms Foundation’s efforts can visit this web page on the Grace Farms website.

Grace Farms Alliance Against COVID-19 as of April 2:

  • • Town of New Canaan Emergency Management • Town of New Canaan Fire and Police Departments • Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc. • Helena Foundation • Ningxia Yanbao Foundation • Building and Land Technology • XJ Group

Grace Farms Relief Fund for Connecticut medical relief supplies recipients as of April 2:

  • • St. Vincent’s Medical Center • Stamford Health [Stamford Hospital] • Norwalk Hospital • Danbury Hospital • Yale New Haven Health o Bridgeport Hospital o Greenwich Hospital • Lawrence + Memorial Hospital • Westerly Hospital • Yale New Haven Hospital • Northeast Medical Group • Waveny Care Center • Silver Hill Hospital • Community Health Center, Inc. (14 COVID-19 testing sites)

Grace Farms has been temporarily closed to the public since March 9.

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