The parable of the Good Samaritan really hit me during this pandemic. Jesus expects us to help each other, not look the other way. When the Coronavirus started to spread, I was worried about the people on the frontlines who lacked the proper equipment. My father is a hospital administrator and he told me stories of how a number of medical workers didn’t even have masks to wear. I wondered why he didn’t just retire to keep safe, but he said this is the time when healthcare workers step up, when they rush to the forefront because they can help people in need. But I kept thinking that without this protection, doctors and nurses would be at great risk. My friends certainly couldn’t find any masks; online stores were out of stock. People were panicked. I knew I had to act. So I did. My friend, Amy, and I set up a website where we tried to help with supplying masks to people. Our goal was to make, find and send personal protective equipment to those on the frontlines. We tackled this problem in a couple different ways. First, we set up tutorials on how people could make their own masks. We acted as a conduit where sewing groups would make masks and we’d find medical facilities where they could be used. Next, I had a friend in Hong Kong who worked at a diaper factory, but his company shifted over to making a million masks each day. We felt that could be our ticket to a good supply of masks. We didn’t know anything about importing goods, but we immersed ourselves in this to quickly learn. We set up a nonprofit, MorePPE.org, where companies could buy at cost as many FDA-approved masks as they needed. We also gave people a chance to donate money to this nonprofit, and 100% of the funds were used to buy masks and then given to hospital workers. We didn’t make a penny on this and it became almost a full-time effort. But it was one of most gratifying and fulfilling things I have ever done. Our goal was to “love thy neighbor” and I hope we have done just that.
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