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The efforts of Ferris State University’s COVID-19 Community Response Team were recently quantified, specific to the diverse array of personal protective equipment items produced since the first days of the global pandemic.


Team Coordinator Emily Zoet said through the tireless efforts of staff and faculty since April, there are more than 28,000 pieces of PPE they have produced for distribution.


“So far, this team has produced and delivered 883 ear protectors, more than 25,000 face shields, and 1,380 cloth face masks to 45 different organizations,” Zoet said. “When the market could not keep up, this group supplied organizations with crucial personal protective equipment in order to ensure the health and safety of our communities.”


Zoet said efforts to meet this demand was at its peak in the spring, as PPE items were acquired, with no back stock available in the industry to meet continuing orders.


“As the market caught up, the urgency started to dwindle,” Zoet said. “However, the Community Response Team remains active for now, fulfilling requests as they are presented to us.”


The College of Engineering Technology’s Laboratory Facilities Coordinator Brian Pacholka said they prioritize orders for local governments and agencies. Some of those recipients include the City of Big Rapids, the District Health Department #10, Project Starburst, Central Michigan Community Mental Health’s Big Rapids office, Manna Pantry, Metron of Big Rapids and the Kent County Health Department.


“We have headbands and shields that have gone to New York State, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, and Puerto Rico,” Pacholka said. “2,500 products have been distributed across the Ferris campus. Through our affiliation with Operation Face Shield, we have also filled international orders from The Bahamas, Nicaragua, Honduras and Haiti.”

Pacholka said the PPE items distributed by the university present no cost for the recipients.


“There are a number of staff members on campus who have joined me in production of these materials,” Pacholka said. “We are thankful to the makers of Coca-Cola, who have provided us with 2,000 pounds of shield material. Another key contribution is the ton and a half of ABS material received from Celanese-Ticona Polymers, Incorporated, which we use to make frames.  We will go over 30,000 frames produced during the week of Aug. 17.”


Those entities in need of PPE can contact Zoet by email.

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