Niagara College donates more than 30,000 personal protective items to front-line healthcare

Katie McQuestion (Campus Safety and Emergency Management Coordinator), Pam Skinner (Senior Vice President, Corporate Services), and Gordon Maretzki (Centre Manager, Advanced Manufacturing, Niagara College Research & Innovation, gather in front of the Applied Health Institute at NC’s Welland Campus on April 2 to help load boxes containing more than 30,000 personal protective equipment items that the College is donating to Niagara Health. Niagara College photo

Niagara College press release – Niagara College sent the ultimate care package to the region’s healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic today – loading a truck with more than 30,000 items of personal protective equipment, with more on the way.

The supply of items was picked up from the Welland Campus on Thursday, Apr. 2/2020 for donation to the Niagara Health Foundation. The hundreds of boxes contained items collected from various program areas and departments across the College’s two campuses, including 23,000 gloves, 3,130 masks, 3,760 protective garments (gowns, polypropylene suits, hair covers, shoe covers and caps), more than 330 cleaning supplies (antiseptic towelettes, disinfectant), and almost 150 safety glasses and shields.

“We are extremely grateful to Niagara College for their support and generosity. This donation will provide our frontline workers with critical protective equipment to help them respond to COVID-19,” said Roger D. Ali, president and CEO of the Niagara Health Foundation. “These items will protect our healthcare professionals as they treat our friends, neighbours and loved ones.”

In addition to the equipment collected college-wide, the donation also included a supply of college-made face shields. The shields are being produced at a rate of 200 per day at NC’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (Welland Campus) to help Niagara Health address a pressing need for supplies. NC’s Research & Innovation Division recently developed a method of producing the face shields on campus by using computer design tools and laser-cutting technology – which proved to be quicker and more cost-effective than 3D printing.

Currently, the College’s Research & Innovation Division has committed to producing 7,000 face shields at no cost to Niagara Health, thanks to support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) through its contribution to the NC-led Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI).

“Niagara College has always come together to respond to the needs of our community – and, during these unprecedented times, we are committed to leveraging our innovative spirit to provide support in any way we can,” said Niagara College president Sean Kennedy. “We’re incredibly grateful for the ongoing efforts of Niagara Health, and those who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. They serve as role models for many of our students who are training to follow in their footsteps as the healthcare workers and first responders of tomorrow. They’re heroes to us all.”

Work is also underway at the College’s Teaching Distillery (Niagara-on-the-Lake campus) to address an urgent need for sanitizer. The Teaching Distillery has been producing a 70-percent-alcohol disinfectant for Niagara Health.