Coronavirus Chicago: Project C.U.R.E. hosts personal protective equipment donation drive at United Center for first responders fighting COVID-19

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On a typical night, the United Center surface lot would serve as public parking for a Bulls or Blackhawks game.

But with all spectator sports cancelled until further notice, on Sunday Lot F was turned over to Project C.U.R.E and their effort to collect as much Personal Protective equipment as possible for those on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.

Volunteers lined up to help facilitate a quick and risk free drop off for those bringing in supplies such as gloves, cleaning wipes, antibacterial soap, and surgical masks.

"We're getting an enormous amount of requests right now for supplies for everything from first responders, police departments, fire departments, hospitals, health care systems, nursing homes have all been reaching out to us. We are working with local officials and they are helping us direct where the supplies should be going." Beth Rotthman of Project C.U.R.E. Chicago said.

Among the donors were medical professionals whose temporarily reduced practices don't need as much PPE as they had on reserve.

"We put an order in to our supplier and we had excess and just wanted to drop it off after seeing the McComick place situation opening up I felt kind of driven to drop stuff off," The Running Institute's Dr. Michael Chin said. "It's heartbreaking."

However, individual donations can only do so much as doctors and nurses throughout the state try to conserve equipment they have in anticipation for the flux of COVID-19 cases expected to hit the area and the nationwide shortage of medical supplies.

"It is strangling the efforts to contain the epidemic. We can't test as much. We're limited by the lack of PPE on how many tests we can do on a given day in our hospitals and also other patients are suffering," volunteer Dr. Tricia Moo-Young said. "Those patients who I have to call, some who have cancer and I tell them they have to wait on their surgeries just because we dont have the PPE equipment and it has to be redirected."

Project C.U.R.E said it will be holding similar donation drives around the country.

For more than 30 years, Project C.U.R.E. has shipped medical supplies and equipment internationally, working in over 130 countries.

The organization is asking people to contact them directly if they want to help or need that help themselves.

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