Civic News

How a PPE purchasing model born of the pandemic is evolving for the future

Face masks and sanitizer may not be in short supply anymore, but schools and nonprofits can still benefit from the Donate Delaware model created in 2020.

Donate Delaware's medical supply dropoff. (Courtesy photo)

In the spring of 2020, Delaware, like the rest of the country, had a PPE problem. With lockdowns in full effect and hospitals seeing their first surges of COVID-19 patients, the demand for face masks, medical cloves, sanitizer and other personal protective equipment had skyrocketed.

Delaware businessmen Dave Tiberi (president of Emergency Response Protocol and retired professional boxer), Dr. Robert Andrzejewski (president and CEO of Innovative Educational Associates) and Richard Piendak (founder of Richard’s Paving and cofounder of Frightland Haunted Attractions) leveraged their experiences in emergency management and logistics to form Donate Delaware.

The Newport-based org was a hub for procuring and distributing PPE supplies, both purchased and donated. In its first quarter, Donate Delaware distributed more than 61,00 pieces of PPE for free.

Fast forward a year, and the PPE shortage has passed, and COVID-19, while still a pandemic, has vaccines that now allow businesses to open with little to no restriction.

But, as many did before the pandemic, schools and nonprofits still have needs for supplies. Instead of retiring Donate Delaware until the next emergency, the organization is partnering with United Way of Delaware to use its efficient model developed in 2020 to help nonprofits get what they need, including non-PPE supplies, whenever they need it.

“COVID forced everyone to think outside the box. Donate Delaware grew quickly out of that experience,” Tiberi said in a statement. “And now we realize that the systems, resources, and experiences we developed over the last year have application to a much wider range of purchasing and logistics solutions for nonprofits and schools. Teaming up with United Way of Delaware gives us access to their 75 years’ experience working with nonprofits on the ground, and a potential platform for nonprofits to access the savings and efficiencies that bulk purchasing, storage, and delivery can offer.”

This summer, United Way of Delaware and Donate Delaware will present nonprofits and schools with a working model for bulk purchasing, storage and distribution of PPE, while continuing to accept requests and donations for supplies through its website and at its Newport dropoff location.


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