Relief package billions can't buy hospitals out of shortages

In this March 17, 2020, photo, Theresa Malijan, a registered nurse, has hand sanitizer applied on her hands after removing her gloves after she took a nasopharyngeal swab from a patient at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing station for University of Washington Medicine patients in Seattle. The Associated Press has found that the critical shortage of testing swabs, protective masks, surgical gowns and hand sanitizer can be tied to a sudden drop in imports of medical supplies.

ANDERSON — The United Way of Madison County is collecting needed personal protection items for the local hospitals.

Nancy Vaughan, president of the United Way, said the hospitals are running short of the necessary items and are concerned for their staffs.

“We are the official collection site,” she said Tuesday. “We have sites in Elwood and Pendleton.”

Items that are needed include N95 masks, surgical masks, disposable isolation gowns, goggles, safety glasses and face shields.

People wanting to make a donation are being asked to call first:

• The United Way of Madison County, 205 W. 11th St., Anderson, 643-7493.

• South Madison Community Foundation, 233 S. Main St., Pendleton, 778-8444.

• George Morrisett Center, 208 S. Anderson St., Elwood, 552-5570.

Vaughan said the Meijer Corp. has donated $13,000 to the United Way of Madison County as a part of a $4 million donation in the 99 communities where there are Meijer stores.

“We really needed it,” she said.

Vaughan said the United Way is working to increase assistance for people who are out of work and working on some guidelines with their community partners.

“People can apply for the public health plan,” she said. “They don’t have to wait for an open enrollment period. This is a qualifying event.”

Vaughan said their coaches are working to assist people with obtaining health care and food stamps at 765-608-3062.

She said the United Way is planning to ask for volunteers to assist at the local food pantries.

“We need younger volunteers,” Vaughan said. “Many of our volunteers are senior citizens and shouldn’t risk being out in public.”

Volunteers over the age of 16 are needed at the Salvation Army, 1615 Meridian St., Anderson, from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday to prepare food items for distribution and from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to help with the distribution.

The Park Place Community Center Food Pantry is in need of volunteers over the age of 18 from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

She said the state association is working with the local United Way organizations around the state in terms of funding needs.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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