By Samaria Bailey
PHILADELPHIA — Two Democratic lawmakers who represent the city in Harrisburg, Rep. Joanna McClinton and state Sen. Anthony H. Williams, have donated personal protective equipment to two senior homes recently, in efforts to help fight the novel coronavirus virus.
The legislators delivered masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and thermostats to 65 residents at Paschall Senior Apartments, an independent senior living facility and 65 residents at the Hardy Williams Veterans Housing Center. Both of the facilities are located in Southwest Philadelphia.
“This coronavirus continues putting the lives of our most vulnerable populations at risk, and we have a responsibility to connect our wisest neighbors with the care and tools they need to make it through this health crisis safely,” McClinton said. “These materials will go a long way in helping older Pennsylvanians protect themselves, loved ones and others around them.”
McClinton also pointed to the importance of partnerships among community members, elected officials and businesses during the pandemic, as their donations were made with help from Aetna.
“This kind of collaborative effort is critical in acquiring resources, providing relief and moving our communities past this pandemic,” she said.
On the day of the donation, Williams shared a similar view as he announced the effort on his Facebook page.
“Today my staff along with Rep. Joanna McClinton’s office, Aetna, and Desaree Jones gave out PPE to senior centers in district 8!” the post stated. “Working together to help mitigate the spread of #COVID19.”
The city and state have recognized that nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. According to the City of Philadelphia’s May 23 COVID-19 update press release, although there is “continued progress in congregate settings, including nursing homes and the Department of Prisons,” more than half of the 1,233 coronavirus related deaths have been in long term care facilities.
Bashairra Henry, Regional Director of Help USA, which manages the Hardy Williams Veterans Center, said the donation was necessary and appreciated.
“On behalf of the staff and residents of HELP Philadelphia, we sincerely appreciate the thoughtful donations from Senator William’s office,” she said. “Residents are able to follow the CDC guidelines by utilizing the protective equipment to help flatten the curve. Residents have a better chance of protecting themselves from the virus. They have the benefit of checking their temperature to detect early signs of the virus.”
Samaria Bailey is a correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.