CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A group of University of Miami medical students is trying to do their part to help South Florida hospitals in the battle against COVID-19, the contagious respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.
The UM the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine students’ Miami Med Covid Help program started with 20 volunteers and has grown to about 100. Their mission: To collect personal protection equipment.
Program founder, Alison Ohringer, said when the coronavirus pandemic started it became immediately clear that there was going to be a shortage of face masks, surgical and N95, and other protective gear.
“We came together in the student body to see how we could help," Ohringer said. She added, “The acquisition of PPE became a vitally important component of what we were doing.”
The students used different databases, including Yelp, to help find businesses that could have PPE to donate. They started with those donations, but they are now asking for the public’s help with two drives on Sunday in Coral Gables and Brickell.
“The goal of the drives on Sunday is to ask people in the community who might have things like N95 masks, gloves, surgical gowns, anything like that at home to donate to us so we can distribute it to hospitals in the area who need it,” Ohringer said.
The students have been working with local hospitals like Jackson Memorial Health in Miami-Dade County and Holy Cross in Broward County to get this vital equipment to those in the frontlines who are unable to practice social distancing. The students plan to sanitize all of the donations and deliver them.
“We can get it out as soon as the next day and it’s needed immediately,” Ohringer stresses.
WHERE TO GO
Students ask donors to practice social distancing on Sunday. You don’t have to get out of your car. The students will get the donations out of your trunk.
BRICKELL: This drive is from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Publix Supermarket at Brickell Village, 134 SW 13 St.
CORAL GABLES: This drive is from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at St. Augustine Church at 1400 Miller Rd.