Medical personnel and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak, often lack essential supplies like N95 masks, respirators, gloves, and swabs. This leads to the hard choice of putting themselves at risk to help others. Now Operation Blessing is providing these much-needed supplies to fire and rescue crews.
“Through tears and prayers, he just thanked us a lot for what we were doing for them,” U.S. Disaster Relief Manager Hannah Slusher said of the response of one police chief.
Operation Blessing is in partnership with the Home Depot Foundation to provide sanitation supplies and masks that are in high demand among first responders.
“One of the officers that came to pick up the items last week was choking back tears when he told us what a load this was off of his shoulders,” Slusher said. “He had gotten down to only 70 masks and with the large amount of officers that he had he was losing sleep at night trying to figure out how he was going to get, provide for those officers.”
Operation Blessing has given out nearly 30,000 N95 masks so far and that’s not all.
They have given more than 670 sanitizing kits to first responders in Virginia, West Virginia, Texas and Florida. The kits are filled with cleaning supplies like bleach spray, disinfectant wipes, paper towels, all-purpose cleaner, work gloves, contractor bags and scouring pads.
This helps police officers disinfect their patrol cars and firefighters keep their equipment and stations clean.
Many first responders often eat together, train together and sleep in the same quarters making them more susceptible to this virus.
In San Jose, California, four firefighters have tested positive and 52 others are on leave for possible exposure.
Protective gear, like N95 masks, is in short supply nationwide and without them, first responders risk not only contracting the virus but also carrying it to vulnerable family members.
It’s another reason why donations like this are so important.
“It is truly a blessing,” Norfolk 911 Center Manager Tony Castillo said. “Being able to have sustained supplies is vital to us.”
Operation Blessing volunteers prayed for first responders as they handed out the kits.
“God we thank you for their families, God we thank you for their hearts and for their love for their community. Bless them and everyone they represent,” one volunteer prayed.
Portsmouth Fire Chief James Hoffler told CBN News he feels good knowing that Operation Blessing is standing behind them.