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Community donations help fight COVID-19

West Seneca schools and Erie Co. business donate medical items to hospitals
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Posted at 5:07 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 09:41:29-04

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Medical professionals are on the front lines in the war against COVID-19.

However, many are concerned about a shortage of personal protective gear such as masks, face shields, and goggles.

Two groups made large donations to help local hospitals.

West Seneca Central Schools followed through on a teacher's idea to donate protective supplies that are sitting in the closed school buildings. It was an idea that caught-on quickly through text messages.

Joe Contafio, president of the West Seneca Teachers Association and a town councilman, said the supplies were collected in a safe manner by administrators in the district's four middle and high schools.

"She explained to me that a friend of hers was an emergency room nurse at ECMC, and thought maybe a pair of goggles, some gloves, or a gown from our science room would help her out," said Contafio.

The district donated more than 1,000 goggles, dozens of masks, hundreds of gloves, dozens of gowns, and thousands of wipes.

West Seneca police then took the items to the Erie County Medical Center (ECMC).

ECMC plea for donations:

-Masks - procedure or N95s

-Face shields

-Goggles

-Disposable protective covering

-Hand Sanitizer

The other donation came from an anonymous Erie County business that had 68,800 N95 masks that had been forgotten about by a shipper for the last couple years. In spite of efforts to remind the shipper of the masks, the stockpile (which was intended for the military) stayed at the unnamed company, explained Erie County Legislator Frank Todaro.

At first, the company thought of selling the masks to local hospitals. After intervention by New York State Senator Tim Kennedy and Erie County Legislator Frank Todaro, the company then decided to donate 32,000 masks to Catholic Health, 32,000 to Kaleida Health, and the remaining 4,800 to local first-responders without cost.

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Erie County Legislator Frank Todaro (District 8) inspects some of the 68,800 masks that were donated to Catholic Health, Kaleida Health, and local first-responders by an anonymous company.