As the world continues its battle against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a small group of families is working nonstop to help equip front-liners with proper battle gear.
Tucked away in a quiet community at Woodside Homes, Quezon City, are fathers, mothers, children and their relatives and even kasambahay crafting face shields for Project Shield PH to distribute for free to medical front-liners.
Project Shield was founded by doctors Ana Patricia Ramos and Christian Aaron Doce, QC-based pediatricians.
The doctors, at the start of the extended community quarantine, came across a Facebook post by the Bell-Kenz Pharma Group detailing instructions on how to make DIY face shields. After making calls and posting on Facebook, the doctors came up with the idea of recruiting family volunteers to help create face shields.
The “North Family” started with three groups in Quezon City—Raquel Bracero’s family, Denise Lopez’s family and neighbors at Woodside Homes and Dr. Mary Ann Adapon’s family. Then came a group in Pasig City led by Caroline Tianco’s family and neighbors at Lexington Garden Village.
In the first two days alone, around 600 face shields were delivered to more than 15 hospitals. Soon demand soared, and another area in the Metro had to mobilize their communities.
In Alabang, Gilane Rodil-Yusay, executive vice president of YR-St. Michael Medical Hospital, was invited to coordinate a similar operation in the south of the Metro. Project Shield PH was born.
The “South Family” started with nine families from Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa. Then the De La Salle Brothers at La Salle Green Hills volunteered to join the North Family.
In just two weeks, 7,067 face shields were delivered to 139 hospitals in Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite and Batangas.
Project Shield PH also received a request from provinces like Rizal, Iloilo, Mindoro Occidental and Bulacan, and was soon transporting face shields to those areas.
“Our shields are now reaching hospitals in the southern areas, front-liners in banks and grocery stores. But due to shortage of raw materials, production has slowed down a bit,” Lopez told Lifestyle.
The face shields are made of acetate, foam, double-sided adhesive foam tapes, ribbons and fasteners (garters). Each is adjustable with ribbons and garters. They are made of plastic so they can also be reused after thorough disinfection with alcohol and soap.
Lopez said her community even crafted face shields using garters from old bras.
“Project Shield PH has made mandatory house arrest meaningful,” Lopez said.
The shields are dropped off at a pickup point at Woodside. Woodside janitors are regularly disinfecting the Project Shield PH station.
“We cannot risk compromising the integrity of the shields,” she said.
Project Shield PH scours for suppliers and donors, and requests for donations. It also coordinates assembly teams for deliveries to hospitals. The group continues to do it for free.
It remains a privately led effort by dedicated individuals leading multiple family volunteers.
Facebook: Project Shield: Families at Home Against COVID-19