Shielding the Underserved in the U.S.
Updated: May 11
Frontline workers everywhere have struggled desperately to find the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to help fight COVID-19's spread. To address that issue in the U.S., Field Ready has partnered with Los Angeles-based COVID-19 Shields to help supply frontline personnel and at-risk individuals with much-needed face shields in under-supplied hospitals, clinics and communities.
On Wednesday, we kicked off our partnership by delivering 2,000 face shields to Tuba City Regional Health Care in Tuba City Arizona, and 500 face shields to Zuni Comprehensive Health Center in Zuni, New Mexico. The hospitals serve Native Americans from nearby reservations, including members of the Navajo, Zuni and Hopi nations.
“There’s still a huge need in the U.S. for PPE among underserved populations. This partnership with COVID-19 Shields allows us to get face shields to people who won’t otherwise get them when they need them,” said Eric James, Ph.D., Field Ready’s executive director.
Founded by architect and fabrication manager of production Alex Pandijiris, COVID-19 Shields was born after Pandijiris had her film, TV and event clients cancel projects as a result of the pandemic.
“I sat around for a day (after the lockdown began) and then said, ‘I need to do something to help,’” Pandijiris said.
Rather than close her shop as many manufacturers have, Pandijiris pivoted her skills and her 60,000-square-foot facility to make face shields to help protect against the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Shields donates all proceeds from its face shield sales toward providing shields for those who need one but can’t afford their purchase.
In collaboration with several other fabrication shops, COVID-19 Shields has thus far made and delivered some 17,000 shields to facilities, groups and individuals in 26 states and Canada.
Field Ready learned face shields were needed in Tuba City and Zuni through a request from Protect Native Elders on May 1 - and delivered them May 6. The COVID-19 outbreak in the Navajo Nation – which numbers some 175,000 people and straddles Arizona, New Mexico and Utah – has been particularly severe, with nearly 3,000 people sickened and 85 dead as of May 7. The Navajo Nation’s infection rate is 10 times higher than that of all of Arizona.
The need for face shields remains critical among many others who can’t afford them – including urban frontline workers and first-responders and health care personnel in rural or remote areas. “We got a request from a 12-year-old boy in Georgia who wanted to send us his allowance so he could buy a couple face shields for his mom who works in a small hospital but didn’t have any,” Pandijiris said. COVID-19 Shields donated the shields to him.
That need is why Field Ready is donating shields to underserved communities across the country. If you or your organization can't afford shields, please make your request here. For more information, contact email@example.com.
“Our mission is to provide on-the-ground solutions, right where they’re needed,” said James. “And right now, this PPE is critically needed.”