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Video: Medical students organize volunteers to collect, donate COVID-19 PPE -- #GetMePPEChi

Tricia Rae Pendergrast, a first-year-medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has been picking up community donations of urgently needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers across Chicago as cases of COVID-19 climb in the metropolitan area. 

Pendergrast and fellow medical students are orchestrating donations of N95 respirators, surgical masks, surgical gowns and gloves and distributing them to emergency medicine departments and intensive care units around Chicago.

“We felt doing nothing was not an option,” Pendergrast said. “We view this as an extension of the oath we took the first week of school to put the needs of others before the needs of ourselves.”

“This is a really critical time,” Pendergrast said. “Not only will this keep physicians and nurses safe, it will keep patients safe as well.”

Anyone who has or knows of available N95 respirators, surgical masks, gloves or gowns is urged to contact GetMePPEChi@gmail.com or #GetMePPEChi on Instagram or @GetMePPEChi on Twitter to donate. The students will arrange a safe, ‘no-contact’ pickup and distribute the donated items to area hospitals.

The medical supply collection and distribution is just one of the ways Feinberg students are helping. Pendergrast and two other first-year students, Tazim Merchant and Emma Office, have organized a graduate-student wide volunteer effort to help support health care workers, older community members at higher risk for COVID-19 and working parents during the pandemic.

Students are grocery shopping, picking up prescription medications and virtually tutoring children while their parents work at home. They also are organizing blood drives.

The project, Students Supporting the Community During COVID-19, has more than 140 volunteers accepting requests to help.

To request volunteer help, visit: www.tinyurl.com/chicagoCOVIDsupport.

For more info, the national website can be found here.

Follow along with the volunteers on InstagramFacebook and Twitter

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