News & Events

With Help from Generous Donor, MNA Purchases and Begins to Distribute Tens of Thousands of Desperately Needed KN95 Respirator Masks to Nurses and Healthcare Professionals Across the State

04.15.2020

In the wake of dangerous delays in the provision of desperately needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for nurses and healthcare professionals (HCPs) during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lack of an adequate state and federal effort to provide needed protections, the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), in conjunction with donors, contractors, and outside organizations, has successfully acquired and is now distributing a significant quantity of PPE and other supplies statewide. Donations include:

20,000 FDA-approved KN95 respirator masks, with another 40,000 on the way

Skyhawk Therapeutics and Dragonfly Therapeutics, based in Waltham, Mass., donated $150,000 for the purchase of one of the most urgently needed PPE: FDA-approved KN95 respirator masks.

“These medical-grade masks are essential to the safety and well-being of our nurses and healthcare professionals,” said Donna Kelly-Williams, RN and MNA president. “Without this PPE, our frontline caregivers are just as susceptible to COVID-19 as every visitor and patient they interact with and care for. If most of our frontline caregivers were to become sick, the entire healthcare system would be compromised. But thanks to this donation, our members can care for patients during this pandemic safely and without fear.”

“Simply thanking Skyhawk Therapeutics and Dragonfly Therapeutics for these donations really isn’t enough,” added Kelly-Williams. “Their generosity is beyond words, and it is beyond measure.”

The MNA also used a sizeable portion of its own budget to purchase PPE for nurses and HCPs. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and both social distancing and the commonwealth’s state of emergency got underway, it meant that the MNA had to cancel its spring education curriculum for members. Those funds were entirely redirected to the purchase of PPE, including the KN95s and, next, face shields.

Distribution of the PPE is now underway, with deliveries — of proportional size, and based on need — being made to facilities across the state by MNA staff members and union leaders. These deliveries will continue to roll out during this month’s anticipated surge and will continue for as long as the items are available and needed. [For information on the MNA’s PPE deliveries within your readership/viewership, email jjohnson@mnarn.org and/or jmarkman@mnarn.org.]

Other groups that also contributed in-kind donations of, or monetary donations for, PPE include IBEW Local 103, which donated 20,000 medical-grade N95s; countless small businesses; and more than 80 individuals who added to the MNA’s online fundraising efforts at massnurse.org/PPEdonations.

Additional donations

  • 2,600 face shields, manufactured and donated by Autodesk
  • 500 sets of scrubs, with more on the way, from Barco Uniforms as part of its “Project Gratitude” initiative
  • 2,000 pairs of sneakers, with an additional 18,000 on the way, from Puma
  • 400 headbands, also from Puma
  • KIND bars from the KIND company
  • Bottled of water from Anheuser-Busch

“The toll this virus is taking on our members and nurses everywhere is profound, and it affects all parts of their daily routines” said Kelly-Williams. “Hospitals have been short on scrubs, and they are hard to come by. Nurses are worried about walking into their homes with sneakers on that they wore at work all day. They have gone hungry and thirsty during their shifts because hospitals have closed their cafeterias, and local convenience stores and delivery services are either closed or overwhelmed.”

“Donations of items like scrubs, sneakers, snacks, and water go a long way in making nurses’ lives feel a little more manageable.” Added Kelly-Williams. “We are so grateful for that, and for the generosity of these companies, organizations, and individuals.

FPO