A group of medical students is holding a donation drive for personal protective equipment or PPE in Colorado Springs. All donated supplies will go to El Paso County Emergency Management for distribution to local health care professionals as part of nationwide effort to redirect unused medical supplies.
Donations of surgical masks and gowns, bleach, hand sanitizer, non-latex gloves, face shields, and even rain ponchos are encouraged.
Colorado recently received equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile, but the state health department says those supplies will only be sufficient for about one full day of statewide operations.
Kiley Schlortt is in her first year at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine. She and a few others organized the drive while they’re back in Colorado Springs studying remotely. As a medical student, Schlortt said there is a sense of anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. She said her professors have been stressing that this is a great chance to learn and to serve the community in ways that would usually be unavailable.
“It’s an odd feeling to know that I am living and experiencing something that my future children and grandchildren will be taught about...and that will be taught about future medical programs,” said Schlortt.
Schlortt said they’re reaching out to local school districts for supplies from their cafeterias and labs, as well as businesses that have closed.
“For example, tattoo parlors would have gloves,” said Schlortt, “We’ve been contacting dentist offices for any excess that they might have. Anywhere that serves food would have these.”
The donation drive will be set up like a drive-thru. Open boxes of equipment will be accepted, as long as the contents have not been used.
“If our healthcare workers run out of personal protective equipment, then they are going to get sick,” said Schlortt, they are just as important of a resource as anything else that we’ve been using.”
The drive is at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 at the UCCS Health Lane Center parking lot, 4863 N. Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs. Another drive is set for noon on Saturday, March 28 at the same location.
Editor's note: Per El Paso County Emergency Management guidelines, hand sewn masks and bandanas will not be accepted.
Another way to donate
Centura Health will have designated locations and drop-off boxes for PPE beginning Wednesday, March 25 outside the front entrance of each of their locations.
Supplies can also be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at Penrose Hospital, 2222 N. Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs.
Only the following items will be accepted:
- Boxed masks and N95s (single or used masks cannot be accepted)
- Gloves that are still in manufacturer packaging
- Packaged gowns or rain ponchos with sleeves
- Face shields (must include eye protection and be labeled as surgical, isolation, dental, or medical procedure face shields)