PPE producers shift focus to help where the need is greatest

Sprayberry High School students seal gowns cut by Aylus East Cobb as part of Georgia Makes PPE’s initiatives. Courtesy of Georgia Makes PPE

In March 2020 Atlanta Beats COVID (ABC), a group of volunteer makers, engineers, fabricators, seamsters and other Southeast industry experts began making necessary personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. In June, ABC shifted its focus to providing PPE to teachers. In November the call for PPE had subsided, and ABC closed its doors. However, many ABC workers changed their focus, and Georgia Makes PPE was born. Georgia Makes PPE is a group of volunteer makers and students producing locally made PPE, with a focus on isolation gowns made of heat-sealable plastic through a grant from Get Us PPE.

“In March 2020, it became painfully apparent that our medical and front line essential workers were fighting a deadly disease without the PPE they needed,” said Caroline Dunn, the communications director of ABC. “The gratitude we received from healthcare workers, first responders and teachers kept us going through our darkest days. For many workers, we were the only reliable source of PPE.”

ABC delivered over 70,000 pieces of PPE to more than 235 local organizations with the help of 250 volunteers and 25 sponsors before closing its doors in November 2020. Since it started in November, Georgia Makes PPE has delivered around 10,000 isolation gowns.

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“So, much of this situation is in flux and in chaotic turmoil from day to day,” said Sean Mills, the director of Georgia Makes PPE and an inaugural grant recipient of Get Us PPE’s Gown Making Cohort. “When we talk about these needs and volunteer actions it seems very clear, but from one day to the next different people come in and come out. Protocols change. And, plans have to change, too.”

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With the guidance and funding from Get Us PPE, Georgia Makes PPE produced its first 200 locally made isolation gowns. It is currently partnering with West Care Georgia to distribute the gowns to those who need them most.

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Who’s helping?

Georgia Makes PPE

Services: Georgia Makes PPE produces isolation gowns made of heat-sealable plastic through a grant from Get Us PPE to be delivered to healthcare workers

Where to donate: Georgia Makes PPE suggests donating to Get Us PPE at GetUsPPE.org/donate/. Get Us PPE is a national nonprofit that has donated PPE to Georgia directly and has partnered with Georgia Makes PPE to help us make products locally.

If you are involved in or know of an organization working to bring relief to the Atlanta community during the coronavirus pandemic OR you are with an organization with supplies that you don’t know where to donate, please email us at Shannon.n.Dominy@gmail.com.