UConn Health Seeking Donations of Personal Protective Equipment

UConn Health white coats ready to be distributed at a ceremony held at John W. Patterson Auditorium at UConn Health in Farmington on March 22, 2019. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
UConn Health is on the frontline of the response to COVID-19, and in need of supplies like those collected by Yashan Zhang and others at UConn. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

At UConn Health, the delivery of care means long hours, critical decision making and compassion for all of its patients. Carrying out that healthcare and public service mission in the midst of the crisis that is the COVID-19 pandemic puts great strain not only on caregivers but also on resources.

Despite the fact that everyone in the state is under unprecedented levels of stress and vulnerability, UConn Health has benefitted from incredible acts of generosity from the community.

UConn Health is now putting out the call for donations of personal protective equipment (PPE), which are in a critical shortage at this time. This effort is being supported by the UConn Foundation.

UConn Health is asking for donations of new and unused:

  • N95 respirator face masks
  • Disposable face masks
  • Face shields and goggles
  • Disinfection wipes and liquids
  • General-purpose hand cleaners

Those that are able to donate are asked to email UConn Health at COVID19Donations@uchc.edu to contact a staff member and coordinate a drop-off time. Anyone in the UConn Health Community that would like to coordinate third-party donations may use this email as well.

Individuals can also make a donation to UConn Health’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, which will help us secure these much-needed supplies and other needs for our hospital.

“I am so proud of the selflessness of the UConn Health physicians, nurses, and  other healthcare personnel who are battling Covid-19 on behalf of the citizens of Connecticut,” said Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, the CEO of UConn Health and Executive Vice President for the Health Affairs. “I am also overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from organizations and individuals who are giving what they can to support those on the frontlines of care. If you would like to be a part of the team engaged in this fight against COVID-19 please consider providing our courageous and compassionate caregivers with personal protective equipment or the means to purchase them. My sincere thanks for any help you can give. We will get through this together.”

UConn President Thomas Katsouleas issued high praise for the physicians and health care workers at UConn Health.

“At UConn Health, we have thousands of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who are working round the clock to diagnose and treat patients – all while managing the steady flow of non-COVID patients they see during the regular course of business,” said Katsouleas. “They are supported by many other UConn and UConn Health employees who are also working hard to carry out our mission in a time of crisis.

“This pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetimes and again and again our UConn medical professionals have shown they are equal to the task at hand: nimble, creative and tireless, drawing from their professional lifetime of experience and knowledge to combat a grave and growing threat.”

The generosity of the community started last week with the simple pleasures of a hot cup of coffee, pizza, and baked goods.

Naples Pizza is a Farmington institution and owner Kurt Kruczek started donating and delivering pizzas to doctors, nurses, and staff at UConn Health last week and plans to do it once a week for both lunch and dinner for the foreseeable future.

“I saw that a Middletown restaurant was bringing pizzas over to the hospital in Middletown and I thought, what a great way to contribute to what is happening right now,” said Kruczek, who says his business is down 50% since his restaurant went to take-out only because of the coronavirus. “I want to make it bigger and invite other restaurants to do the same.”

Kruczek also encourages individuals to buy gift cards to restaurants with the intent of then donating the food to hospitals or to police and fire departments and first responders.

“Anything people can do to kill two birds with one stone is appreciated,” said Kruczek. “Buy some gift cards, buy some food, and we’ll send it to hospitals and we will keep everybody happy.”

The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) team from UConn Facilities Operations based in Farmington received pizzas from Naples and, in turn, is donating money back to Naples so others may enjoy it as well.

Taste by Spellbound, a bakery with a location in Avon, dropped off cupcakes and cookies for the UConn Health staff last week.

In addition, the American Red Cross has provided bottled water to the triage testing center recently set up outside UConn Health in Farmington.

The Liberty Bank Surprise Squad, a feature on WFSB-TV Eyewitness News, bought gift cards from nearby Rebel Dog Coffee Co., and gave them to nurses at UConn Health.

“We’ve had a lot of patients telling us that they are very thankful we are here and doing what we are doing,” a UConn Health nurse told WFSB as they were presented the gift cards.