While the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges that have impacted the globe, it has also inspired individuals and organizations to step forward to provide aid and assistance in a variety of ways as society navigates these uncertain times. The University of St. Francis (USF) is one of many area organizations to step forward in an effort to provide materials and equipment for front line professionals leading the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jessica Monu, Assistant Professor in USF’s Recreation and Sport Management Department, recently put together a sewing group through her church to make masks for essential employees in a variety of medical settings after finding out a relative was one of those professionals in need.
“Many front line professionals are working without masks. My aunt, who works in the hospice field, was one of those professionals until I made and sent her several. Not only can we help minimize the spread of COVID-19 through self-isolating and following the State’s ‘stay-at-home’ order, but we can also help by making masks to protect these front line professionals,” she said.
Monu’s sewing group continues to make masks with double-layered cotton fabric with elastic cords. Collectively, the group has made and donated over 500 masks and anticipates keeping up this pace as long as they have the materials to do so. To date, masks have been delivered to Good Samaritan Hospital; Edwards Hospital; Rezin Orthopedics; Edward Hines, Jr., VA Hospital; Optimal Case Management; Riverside Village; and DuPage Care Center. Masks have also been given to several area emergency medical technicians.
While making masks is one way assistance is being provided, donating personal protective equipment is another as USF’s Leach College of Nursing also recently donated a variety of masks to Silver Cross Hospital, which was in need of supplies.
“We checked with both hospitals in the Joliet area and learned that Silver Cross was in need of masks. We were able to gather and donate several N95 and R95 masks, 300 procedural masks, 200 procedural masks with face shields to help address their need,” said Jennifer Wills-Savoia, Teaching Instructor/Clinical Simulation & Learning Specialist in USF’s Leach College of Nursing.
USF Director of Community and Government Relations Dave DiLorenzo added that these