Fort Washington Alumnae Answers the Call during COVID-19 Crisis
Submitted by DeLisa Prater and Robyn Pettiford
At a time where a mysterious virus began to plague our communities, our state and our country and at a time, where Charles County and Prince Georges County in Maryland were quickly becoming the “hot spots” for COVID-19 cases and deaths in our state, the Fort Washington Alumnae Chapter (FWAC) was called to action.
The first call was received on April 17, 2020, from Ms. Monique Poole, a member of the Southern Maryland Mask Makers, a group of local crafters who were manufacturing cloth face masks for first responders, EMTs, healthcare workers, and those on the front line In Charles County, and Southern Prince Georges County, Maryland. The request was for cotton sheets – any size and color, 100% cotton T-shirts and fabric of any size or color – for the manufacturing of personal protective masks and other protective wear for the groups named above. These vulnerable members of our communities did not have proper protection of any kind being provided to them to protect them while caring for patients with suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
Immediately, despite the national pandemic, the stay-at-home orders and local curfew, FWAC members came out, maintained social distancing, assembled in various locations within the service areas of Charles County and Prince Georges’ County, Maryland to donate the requested materials. In less than five days, 50 contractor bags full of these materials were handed over which resulted in the creation of 6,000 masks.
Two community partners joined our efforts, Lambda Phi Chapter, Inc., Prince George’s County of Chi Eta Phi, Sorority, Inc. a professional nursing organization and the Silver Diner of Waldorf, Maryland.
Maintaining adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) continued to pose challenges for health care systems across the country. Recognizing the need, FWAC answered the second call! During April 21-22, 2020, FWAC in partnership with Prince George’s Council Members Calvin Hawkins and Sydney Harrison, Board of Health Advisor, Dr. Yolanda Hancock and non-profit Masks for America teamed up to donate masks to frontline healthcare workers. Together, the coalition provided more than 2,600 masks to heath care providers at University of Maryland Capital Region Health, Greater Baden Medical Center and Fort Washington Medical Center. The goal was to provide the medical staff with appropriate PPE to protect their health and well-being during this crisis.
FWAC greatly appreciates the dedicated and committed service the frontline healthcare workers are providing to the community during this pandemic. The beauty of this project was that it was more than a photo opportunity; it was a Delta C.A.R.E. component in action, advocacy and awareness! Chapter members and other volunteers were actually able to meet with the healthcare providers and hear their stories in addition to providing protective masks to them. A FWAC chapter member commented, “It was a rewarding experience to speak with the health care professionals and understand what they are dealing with every day, thank them for their selfless devotion and provide them with needed protection.”
FWAC will continue to work with its community partners to “answer the call!”
Submitted by DeLisa Prater and Robyn Pettiford At a time where a mysterious virus began to plague our communities, our state and our country and at a time, where Charles County and Prince Georges County in Maryland were quickly becoming the “hot spots” for COVID-19 cases and deaths in our state, the Fort Washington Alumnae …