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RFE provides PPE Kits at schools, food pantries, and senior centers

The Randolph Foundation for Education (RFE) is providing "PPE Kits" to anyone in Randolph who needs Personal Protective Equipment to help reduce coronavirus risk. "We've got hand sanitizer, washable facemasks, and disposable gloves," says RFE president Jesse Gordon, "and we're distributing through several relief groups around town."

The RFE has focused on creating a "supply chain" for hard-to-find PPE items. "Stores stopped selling hand sanitizer weeks ago," notes Gordon, "and delivery services like Amazon are reserving equipment for hospitals. So we had to establish our own supply chains, to get PPE to the people of Randolph." The RFE contracted with tailors around town to sew reusable facemasks, and contracted with wholesale manufacturers to produce hand sanitizer in 4-ounce containers.

"I feel like Rosie the Riveter for 2020," says Pattie Mazules, a Randolph resident and one of the tailors creating facemasks. "Rosie the Riveter" was the symbol during WWII of everyone contributing to the war effort. The RFE has been using an updated logo with Rosie wearing a facemask, in their PPE Kit packages.

On the distribution side, the RFE has been providing PPE kits, free of charge, to food banks and other relief efforts. Food banks in particular have been pressed into greater service for newly-unemployed people, and provide a method to distribute PPE to people most likely to need it. "We were serving about 100 people per week before the crisis; now we're over 400 people per week," says Town Councilor Natacha Clerger, who runs a weekly distribution point for the Greater Boston Food Bank. "We recently started requiring that recipients wear facemasks when they pick up, and now we can provide facemasks to those who need them -- they love the PPE kits!"

Clerger's distribution point runs weekly on Thursday at 2 PM, at 580 South Main Street, Randolph. It's funded by the Humanitarian Focus Foundation and accepts donations at that address, to offset food distribution costs (the PPE kits are funded separately, and everything distributed is free to recipients). The Randolph Foundation's other distribution services are:

  • The Randolph Friendly Food Pantry, at 1 Turner Drive, Randolph (behind the library), open Mondays from 12:20-2PM and 6-7:30PM, has a supply of RFE's PPE kits. They are also a distribution point for the Greater Boston Food Bank, and also accept donations at that address to offset expenses.

  • The Randolph schools distribute school breakfast and lunch on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 AM at schools across town (Randolph High School, Donovan Elementary, Kennedy Elementary, and Lyons Elementary); the RFE distributes PPE kits at one location each distribution day, and more locations if we get more volunteers!

  • The Randolph Intergenerational Community Center is arranging with the RFE to make PPE kits available at RICC events. Keep an eye on their website -- www.RandolphICC.com -- the RICC has been closed during the pandemic, but generally participates in relief events every weekend. They work with the Randolph Mutual Aid Network for home distribution and at several churches, including the Motivation Church each Saturday, and The Well (restaurant on Mazzeo Drive) Saturdays at 1 PM. For donations, they prefer gift cards from stores like Walgreen's, so they can purchase cleaning supplies.

  • Autism Sprinters provides home delivery of relief supplies, including the PPE kits, to local families with disabilities. They accept tax-deductible donations at P.O. Box 978, Randolph MA, 02368.

Yahaira Lopez of Autism Sprinters also volunteers at the Thursday foodbank, and says, "Our slogan there has been 'no one goes home hungry.' Now we're adding 'Everyone goes home safe.' And we're reaching some of the most vulnerable members of our community."

Lopez, Clerger, and Gordon involved the Randolph Foundation for Education -- they are all board members -- to offer to the Randolph schools that they distribute PPE kits along with their deliveries of free breakfast and lunch, which the School Committee approved in a public vote last week. "The RFE participated in getting the free-meals-for-all program started last year, and we're happy to see the program continuing during the pandemic," says Gordon. "We will distribute PPE kits as-needed with student meals, until the end of the school year and then, we hope, continuing over the summer school break." Gordon appeared at a School Committee "virtual meeting" to offer the RFE's kits.

The RFE is currently writing grant applications to fund expanding their PPE kit quantity available, but accepts individual donations too. The Randolph Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and accepts tax-deductible donations at P.O. Box 530, Randolph MA 02368.

The RFE concluded our PPE Kit program after 15 months, distributing over 4,000 PPE Kits to schools, senior centers, food pantries, and churches around Randolph.

      Randolph Foundation for Education, P.O. Box 530, Randolph MA 02368

     Email to: info @ RandolphFoundation . org

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