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Sarah David: Volunteering to help front-line workers

Sarah David

Sarah David

Many professionals are struggling with how to navigate working exclusively from home, how to balance work and childcare, and how to adjust to the many challenges this time presents. Three women have taken this challenge in stride and developed a network to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to those who need it most.

Essential Baltimore: PPE Baltimore is an all-volunteer Facebook site that connects essential personnel with volunteers who donate skills, time and supplies to help protect the city’s front-line workers. Seeing a critical shortage of protective equipment for workers in the public service sector, founders Lisa Smith and Kim Sauer jumped into action on March 25 and partnered with Joyce Lombardi, who now manages the site with them. Smith, Sauer and Lombardi met in their professional lives as victim advocates.  While they work for different agencies in different capacities, they are now working to unite many active members of our greater community to help make sure our front-line workers have as many resources as we can provide.

Within weeks, the site grew to 700-plus members. “This is Baltimore,” says Smith.  “People want to help and everyone has something to offer.”

PPE Baltimore prioritizes meeting the PPE needs of medical and public service workers, especially nonprofits and those directly serving vulnerable populations in the city. To date, the site has facilitated the delivery of hundreds of home-made donated cloth masks and surgical caps, hundreds of gloves and gallons of hand sanitizer to dozens of local organizations and facilities. Given the huge demand, PPE Baltimore urgently needs more people to sew at home. The site can help provide fabric and supplies and can help arrange safe pickup and delivery.

So for those of you who are curious about ways that you can help, think about something as simple as donating supplies or services. You can sign up at PPE Baltimore.

This is only one example of the many ways you can help your community from home. This time presents challenges for all of us, but just because we can’t be together doesn’t mean we can’t be a community.