Ryman Healthcare has shared some of its PPE stocks with students and older people living in South Auckland, the location of the country’s current Covid-19 cluster.
The offer was made to Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Otara and Age Concern Counties Manukau in a bid to help Pasifika and Māori communities coping with the Alert Level 3 lockdown.
Ryman Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod said the idea occurred to him after meeting the Collegiate’s Principal Kiri Turketo last month at an event which included Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
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Referring to Ryman’s village which is also named after Sir Edmund Hillary, Gordon said: “We value the special association we both share with Sir Ed and I thought it would be helpful to the students, teachers and the local community for us to deliver some surgical masks and hand sanitiser.
“I’m conscious of how hard it is for everyone to get access to PPE, especially if there are more vulnerable whanau members at home,” he said.
The school received 4,000 surgical masks and 500 bottles of 300ml hand sanitiser last week.
Principal Kiri said she and the team at school were ‘blown away’ by the gesture.
“We just want to thank Ryman from the bottom of our hearts for the kindness and gratitude extended to us.
“We are distributing the masks and sanitiser to our most vulnerable families and staff this week.”
Kiri said up until then the staff had been relying on a few hand sewn masks made by the deputy principal while they worked hard to get educational tools out to students at short notice.
“This means we can work during Level 3 without compromising our own safety. We don’t have much so even 100 masks is awesome. We are incredibly grateful for this,” she said.
Likewise, with Ryman’s purpose of providing care and support for nearly 12,000 retirees, Gordon wanted to extend the offer to older people in South Auckland, since Covid-19 has proved to cause worse health outcomes for those in older age groups.
Volunteers at Age Concern packaging up the masks donated by Ryman for distribution.Age Concern received a delivery of 4,000 surgical masks last week also.
Stephanie Clare, CEO at Age Concern, said there had been an urgent need for PPE in Auckland and she thanked Ryman for its ‘ongoing commitment and generosity’.
“Age Concern New Zealand would like to say a huge thank you to Ryman for reaching out and offering this wonderful support.
“It really touches our hearts to know you are thinking of us and the work we do to help older people to still access our services in the Auckland community.”