New York, NY -- NYC Makes PPE, a grassroots coalition of makers and healthcare professionals, has delivered thousands of face shields and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to help alleviate shortages in New York area hospitals.
The initiative began on March 19th as a joint effort among local engineering enthusiasts known as “makers” to address calls from medical staff in need of PPE during the COVID-19 outbreak. The volunteers come from all walks of life, including a jazz bassist, a welder, stranded students and home sewing hobbyists.
“We began prototyping and assembling face shields immediately, delivering to several hard-hit local hospitals by our first weekend,” said Jake Lee, a CS graduate student and member of Columbia Makerspace. “We’ve since begun distributing sewn face masks, donated N95 masks, and hand sanitizer as demand continues to strain official supply channels.”
“When the crisis first hit NYC, we found ourselves desperately short on PPE," recalls David Putrino, Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Mount Sinai. "The incredible team at NYC Makes PPE wasted no time in getting myself and my team what we needed to feel safe. We cannot thank them enough!”
PPE recipients now include not just hospitals, but first responders and staff at nursing homes as well. Talya Keschner, an occupational therapist at The New Jewish Home in Manhattan, sported a face shield from a recent delivery, saying “We feel so much more protected with them! Thank you thank you.”
Brooklyner Kari Love, Soft Robotics Professor/Broadway Wardrobe Professional, leads the NYC Makes PPE drive to create and distribute home-sewn masks. “We found there was a lot of confusion around how people who sew can help in relief efforts," she says. “Our goal is to provide clear support, including a 1-on-1 email helpline, to help volunteers feel confident that the items they sew are what is needed.”
Quick coordination of efforts is the defining characteristic of NYC Makes PPE. “I’ve never seen a design go from concept to prototype to mass manufacturing so quickly,” says Salvy Cavicchio, a graduate engineer at Columbia, “There has been lots of creative supply sourcing, design revision, medical professional feedback, and other bits and pieces that have come together at lightning speed.”
“New Yorkers were forced to move first and fastest in this crisis,” said Guan Yang, treasurer of NYC Makes PPE and Hack Manhattan, “but if what we’ve learned in response can help other areas to slow the spread, that’s something big we still have to offer even after we ‘flatten the curve’ in our city.”
The group is now working closely with similar volunteer efforts across the United States and overseas to share its rapidly developed expertise in responding to the technical and organizational challenges brought on by the pandemic.
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NYC Makes PPE is a group of engineers, makers, and healthcare professionals leveraging DIY manufacturing technology to support PPE production in NYC.
To contribute to the fight against COVID-19, you can send a donation via GoFundMe.
ADDITIONAL QUOTES FROM OUR RECIPIENTS:
Dr Dahlia Rizk, Chief Division of Hospital Medicine, Mt Sinai Beth Israel
"I just wanted to say THANK YOU to you and your entire team on behalf of all of Mount Sinai Beth Israel staff for being so generous with your delivery of face shields. Your kindness and generosity have been very heartfelt and very much appreciated during the most challenging of times and we are eternally grateful!! THANK YOU NYC MAKES PPE!!!"
ADDITIONAL QUOTES FROM OUR MAKERS / VOLUNTEERS:
Peter Hartmann, Co-Founder of the Fat Cat Fab Lab makerspace in Manhattan and Systems Administrator
“It's an honor to serve healthcare workers, who risk their lives everyday supporting our most vulnerable.”
Jenn Li, Community Strategy Consultant in Brooklyn
“Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was a design student cutting things up and sanding things down in the studio. My appreciation for designers and makers runs deep. The act of producing something helpful for others is truly an act of love and service.”
Kedishia Joseph, Architect Student at Spitzer CCNY in Manhattan
“I am extremely happy to be a part of this amazing team who has daily been going above and beyond to provide the necessary supplies to aid our Frontline workers. From our makers, to the distribution team,couriers, donors and everyone else who have collaborated to make NYCMAKESPPE a success. Wouldn’t trade this group of Talented, generous souls for nothing!”
Shelby Arnold, a Former Paper Engineer in Virginia
“It’s great to be part of a team of modern-day armorers. I’m grateful for the chance to contribute what I know about cutting and folding flat surfaces into 3D objects. We’ve developed several designs that require fewer materials and assembly, and can be produced quickly and in large quantities.”
Jay Li, a Web Developer in Manhattan
"When we started assembling our first batch and reached out to our friends working in local hospitals, the tone was one of desperation and panic. In less than a month, our weekly deliveries to underserved healthcare workers increased from hundreds to thousands, all with volunteer efforts and crowdfunded donations. We are just getting started."
Hannah House, Visual Branding Systems Specialist
“The materials are constantly changing as our team chases down whatever is available, so our processes and models have to evolve in real time. I can’t think of a smarter and more supportive group to iterate with. We’re documenting our learnings to help people in other areas replicate our success.”
Guy Dickinson, a Software Engineer in Manhattan
“We’re honored to be giving back to our community,” said Guy Dickinson, a member of NYC Resistor and a software engineer. “We will soon be launching an effort to recruit makers nationwide to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment for use by medical staff. We hope that we can bring the full strength of the making and prototyping community to bear on the shortage of gear during this crisis.”
Ashley-Grace Vo, a Help Desk Associate in Manhattan
“I’m just trying to feel a little less helpless in this situation, and being involved in NYCMakesPPE makes me feel like I can do my part to strengthen the fight NYC has against Coronavirus.”
Mike Akers, Software Engineer
"It feels incredibly good to be able to use my skills and machines to do something, anything, to fight this virus and help other people. The gratitude I've gotten from friends who work in the hospitals has made this one of the most rewarding things I've done in a long time."
“Pink_Vampire”, Prototype Expert
"We have a very promising new design for a face shield that allows more room for masks and goggles. We are going to introduce it to medical facilities for testing."
Robert O'Connor, Infrastructure Engineer
"Helping NYC Makes PPE has given me a sense of purpose during this time. Helping healthcare workers get the much needed PPE is a vital mission."
Kathryn Jones, Media Founder of Collective Agency
“The Collective Agency team launched in response to the '16 election, determined to use our digital media skills to aid social good movements. Our team is so grateful to have the opportunity to help amplify the extraordinary grass roots maker movement that the NYCmakesPPE team has built in response to this terrifying and heartbreaking time in American history.”
Mike McVey, Tech Entrepreneur from the Bronx
"My wife will tell you I'm not even all that handy, but you gotta do whatever you can. Every time we do a hand-off the doctors and nurses are so genuinely appreciative we're saying 'no, thank you' back and forth."
Bill Mills, Scientific Software Developer in Brooklyn
“I’m touched by the people around the state, around the country, and around the world that shipped PPE to NYC. Sticking together is how we win.”
Eric Skiff, Co-Founder of the NYC Resistor Makerspace and Tanooki Labs, a Software and Design firm in Manhattan
"NYC Makes PPE is an amazing group of makers doing what they do best: building things and solving problems. We're working to meet the needs of the healthcare workers who are risking their lives on the front lines of this pandemic. I'm incredibly proud to be part of this group and that the skills we've been building for years have such a positive use."