The Cal Poly Graphic Communications Department donated 38,000 nitrile gloves to French Hospital Monday, March 23 to support them during the coronavirus outbreak.
French Hospital will distribute the gloves to other emergency service providers in the county if needed, electromechanical technician Peter Schlosser said.
While Cal Poly gears up to teach virtually Spring Quarter, printing presses that usually whir and sputter in the Graphic Communications Department lay quiet.
Normally, students would use the printing presses every day in class, but now, they’re only fired up once a week to keep the ink from drying out, Schlosser said.
When using the printing presses, students wear disposable nitrile gloves to protect their hands from ink, but now, only Schlosser will use the gloves while maintaining the presses, so the Graphic Communications Department will not need most of their gloves until next fall.
With a background of medical outreach missions in Nepal and Greece, Schlosser knew the gloves could be more useful outside of the department, he said.
Schlosser’s neighbor is in charge of finding supplies for French Hospital, and she mentioned that they would eventually need more nitrile gloves, which protect health care workers from the virus, he said.
“They’re not desperate today, but they’re anticipating that the community will be in the next two weeks,” Schlosser said.
After talking with Schlosser, the Graphic Communications Department, the Cal Poly Health Center and the Cal Poly Emergency Operations Center agreed that the 38,000 gloves should be donated to French Hospital.
CT Graphic Arts, a local graphic arts company, donated the gloves to the Graphic Communications Department a few years ago, “so we felt ‘paying it forward’ was the right thing to do,” Department Chair Colleen Twomey wrote in an email.
Graphic communications students frequently use donated materials in class, so sophomore Alena Robinson said she was happy to see her department donating to French Hospital.
“We are a huge part of the SLO community, as a college and as college students, so I think it is really important in this time that everybody’s kind of going through all of this together, that we are giving things back to our community and trying to help everyone,” Robinson said.
Schlosser loaded the boxes of gloves into his truck and drove them to the hospital.
“They were shocked at how much it was. I said, ‘I told ya, 30 to 40 thousand,’ and I think they underestimated how big a pile that was,” he chuckled.
The county is accepting donations of personal protective equipment from the community – which includes exam gloves, N-95 masks, surgical masks, isolation gowns, hospital grade cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, eye protection and thermometers, according to a press release from the county.
The personal protective equipment must be sealed in its original packaging, must not be expired – unless it is an N-95 mask, and must not have stains, odors or tears, according to the press release.
“We do live in a community that has an incredible amount of resources, even though people are trying to hoard stuff. You’ve got things and you’ve got talent and you’ve got patience and you’ve got the ability to communicate with people. Just relax, and reach out through a phone call,” Schlosser said. “Just be a friend.”