Paying It Forward: Cleveland Clinic Donates Masks and More to Community Organizations

Donated supplies given to schools, churches, non-profits

Contribution by K. Kelly Hancock, DNP, RN, NE-BC, FAAN, Chief Caregiver Officer.

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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Cleveland Clinic has received overwhelming support and generous donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) from community members and organizations. These incredible acts of kindness and generorsity have aided our caregivers tremendously while also raising their spirits during difficult times.

Donations have included cloth face masks, N95 face masks, cone face masks, surgical masks, eye and face shields, safety glasses, surgical/reusable/other gowns, isolation suites, bootie covers, protective and surgical gloves and sleeves, disposable laboratory coats, clear aprons and ponchos, boufannt caps, coveralls/critical covers, cleaning solutions, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, facial tissues, thermometers, and more.

Gratefully, due to the abundance of supplies and PPE received, Cleveland Clinic has been able to share a selection of the donated materials with other community organizations also in need of these types of supplies.

Nursing takes the lead to pay it forward

In August, after Kristine Adams, MSN, CNP, Associate Chief Nursing Officer of Care Management and Ambulatory Services, learned of the PPE supply surplus Cleveland Clinic currently had on hand, she immediately took action to lead a ‘giving back’ effort.

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With the idea to help schools, faith-based organizations, and other non-profits safely reopen in the midst of the pandemic, Adams asked for volunteer assistance from two nursing caregivers on her team – Laurel Yee, MSN, RN, Care Management Program Manager, and Bob Wachtl, MHA, BSN, CCM, Nursing  Case Manager. In partnership with Cleveland Clinic’s community relations team and with help from the main campus warehousing team and other many other caregivers from throughout the health system, Yee and Watchel have been reaching out to community organizations across Ohio – from Cleveland to Medina to Toledo and beyond – to deliver needed supplies.

In addition to their primary nursing roles, Yee and Wachtl have committed at least 2 hours per day and many weekend hours to ensuring organizations in need receive the donated supplies. By the end of October, the project volunteers had re-donated roughly 39 classifications of items to more than 120 organizations, including more than 40 schools across northern Ohio, as well as numerous senior centers, homeless shelters and kitchens.

Examples of organizations that have received the donations include:  Haven of Rest, Diocese of Cleveland, Feeding Medina, Nordonia Hills City School District, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Saint Barnabas Villa and Saint Barnabus Catholic School, United Pastors Network, Trinity High School, Parkside Villa Senior Living, Oriana House Chemical Dependency Treatment and Community Corrections Agency, Kingston Residence of Vermillion, Shiva Vishnu Hindu Temple of Greater Cleveland, Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, ACCESS Shelter and Housing, St. Vincent de Paul, Shaker Heights City School District, Care Alliance Health Center, Bellefiare JCB, and Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority.   

Additionally, the total number of donations has reached 400,000+ items. This includes more than:

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  • 5,000 bootie covers
  • 40,500 cloth masks
  • 45,000 ear loop masks
  • 30,000 face shields
  • 200,000 gloves of various sizes
  • 3,500 isolation gowns
  • 2,400 N95 masks in various styles
  • 1,500 protective sleeves
  • 6,900 surgical masks
  • 6,000 clear ponchos
  • 1,200 clear aprons
  • 2,500 bouffant caps

Notes of thanks

Expressing sincere thanks to Cleveland Clinic for paying it forward, many organizations have sent letters to Yee and Wachtl, which hang on a wall in the nurses’ administrative space.

In this season of giving, Cleveland Clinic is grateful to have the opportunity to help others in this way and we are forever thankful for the individuals and organizations who have supported healthcare workers worldwide during this past year.