By Emily Drooby
It was a scene of hope and humanity as boxes and boxes of Saint John’s University medical equipment were packed up and driven over to New York-Presbyterian Queens hospital.
The school has been on lockdown for two weeks – classrooms are empty and students are learning from home.
Still, a small group of staff – including Brian Browne – spent their Tuesday fighting back against the coronavirus.
“They were very happy, as you know this is a growing issue across the country,” he said. “Here’s the need for these medical supplies and PPE’s, and we have the capability to give back. They’re happy to take it.”
It’s an important action There’s equipment shortages across New York as hospitals continue to fight the deadly diseases. It’s already so bad that Mayor Bill de Blasio says public hospitals only have about a week’s worth of equipment and supplies left.
“We have excess classroom medical supplies, our students have now gone home, they’re learning remotely and virtually, so we want to give these extra supplies to our neighborhoods down the street,” Browne explained.
The donations from St. John’s include 186,000 medical gloves, 500 lab coats, 100 protective face masks and 20 face shields.
The gesture is one born from the Catholic Vincentian mission, which has been embedded into the university’s culture from the beginning.
“St John’s was founded by the Congregation of the Mission, who are followers of Saint Vincent de Paul, a great community organizer,” said Browne.” And he asked the question to his followers – a question that was asked to him – and that was, ‘What must be done?’”
This might not be the only way the university aids in fighting the coronavirus crisis. They were listed by Governor Cuomo as a possible location for one of his temporary facilities, similar to what’s being set up at the Javits Center.
The school was toured by officials for that purpose on March 20, but no decision has been handed down.
Another brave group fighting through the coronavirus crisis is Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens. They’re hard at work right now to help anyone who needs it, offering emergency assistance with food, housing and senior services.
You can get in touch with them at ccbq.org.