Like for most (if not all) of you Spring 2020 is not panning out exactly as I imagined it. I did not expect to be sitting at home during my first week of classes during my final quarter of college, I did not expect to be learning how to bake, and most of all I did not expect to be reaching out to the people I know, and now all of you for your help. Under any other circumstances I wouldn’t be, but the times we are in, as I am sure we are all well aware by now, are unique and scary. COVID-19 has affected us all in one way or another, whether or not you directly know someone who has the virus. Sitting at home during my senior year spring break, like so many others, I wished for something more I could do to help while flattening the curve. As an eager pre-med I have watched many of the people I have worked with, learned from, and admire doing all they can to fight on the front lines, and I wanted to help equip them to go and fight this fight.
Several close contacts and friends from some of the institutions my family and I are close to reached out to see if there was any way we could help them get the PPE and supplies they so desperately need. Upon hearing this I turned to my dad (he has a much larger contacts list and a little bit more experience than I) to see if it would be possible to try and help find supplies. Through our professional and personal contacts we were able to find a range of suppliers. After looking at them closely it seemed like so many suppliers were just trying to take advantage of the situation; price gouging, flimsy delivery date commitments, and often without FDA approval. Ultimately we were able to find a couple reliable sources and connected them directly with hospitals that were in need. I hoped that our vetting would help the hospitals quickly get the supplies they need from masks, to face shields, to medications and ventilators.
Finding these supplies, however, has only been half the battle. I am now working to help raise the funds necessary to acquire these essential supplies. I have created the site masksformedics.squarespace.com to help fundraise for these institutions. The site itself is not collecting any personal information, but links you directly to a fundraising page at the various institutions (by clicking on the institutions’ logo) and all funds you donate go to the institution(s) of your choosing for the purchase of PPE and supplies they need. All donations are 100% tax deductible as the institutions are all 501(c)3 certified. Any amount you donate would be great. It would mean the world to the frontline healthcare workers, the institutions, and me. If there are any other institutions that you are connected to please contact us through the website and we will reach out and include them.
To help and donate please to to: masksformedics.squarespace.com
Jihana Mendu is a fourth year student at the University of Chicago originally from Southern California. She is currently pursuing a major in Biology and a minor Cinema and Media Studies.