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Frontline First has partnered with Chinese company JiaJia Holding Group Co., Ltd to manufacture and ship equipment to Ottawa healthcare workers. Photo: Frontline First

Group has raised over $5,400, a little more than halfway to their $10,000 goal

A group of Ontario university students from Ottawa has created an initiative called Frontline First to help deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline workers at multiple Ottawa hospitals. 

The group aims to help equip and protect Ottawa’s healthcare workers as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The group cites Spain and Italy where 10 per cent of health-care workers were infected with COVID-19 as why it’s essential to raise funds to buy PPE for Ottawa’s frontline workers. 

“During the SARS pandemic, Ontario stockpiled 55 million N95 masks; however, there are currently just under a million that can be used to combat COVID-19,” wrote Frontline First president Alexa Cheng on the group’s Gofundme page. “This is not enough, and healthcare workers are constantly releasing statements about how Ottawa is in a critical shortage.”

The group has partnered with an overseas PPE manufacturer called JiaJia Holding Group Co., Ltd in China to manufacture and ship FDA-approved and medical-grade PPE, such as N95 masks, goggles, and fully sealed gowns to frontline workers in Ottawa.

“I have reached out to a PPE manufacturer in China who has agreed to supply and ship any gear needed,” adds Frontline First president Alexa Chang on the group Gofundme page. ”The equipment that this particular manufacturer provides is the same that was used by the doctors in China; they are all medical grade and FDA certified.”

A shipment of medical supplies from JiaJia Holding Group Co., Ltd in China. Photo: Frontline First

The group has set up a Gofundme page to help cover the cost of the manufacturing and shipping of the PPE equipment. As of Sunday, Frontline First has raised $5,450 and is a little more than halfway to its goal of raising $10,000.

The group has also partnered up with multiple local companies to help bring coffee, energy drinks, lunch, and skin care products among other things to frontline workers. Some of the group’s members have also begun sewing their own mask to hand to patients at the University of Ottawa heart institute.

“I’ve contacted a lot of companies and local businesses to see if they were able to help not necessarily monetarily, but in-kind donations such as coffee or other products,” said Brenda Truong a fourth-year University of Ottawa biomedical science student that serves as the groups executive responsible for fundraising to the Fulcrum in an interview. “ I reached out to the Starbucks branch that I used to work for next to the Annex Residence on Laurier Avenue, and the boss was generous enough to offer to donate to frontline workers coffee every second day. So that’s the kind of generosity we’ve experienced.”

A Frontline First member delivering Starbucks coffee to Queensway Carleton hospital in Nepean. Photo: Frontline First

The group has also managed to partner up with the Ontario PPE Collective, which is helping Frontline First by printing free 3D face shields. According to their fundraising executive, the group has placed an order for 150 of each of the two types of protective face shields accepted by the Ontario Ministry of Health. 

The students have been delivering the PPE and other goods to Ottawa’s finest themselves and are looking for help. To sign up and help out please reach out to Brenda Truong.  

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