California Church Makes Thousands of Masks and Gowns to Fight Coronavirus

Sandals Church is utilizing a vacant warehouse in Riverside to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Sandals Church photo

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (BP) — Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortages have yielded an opportunity for one Riverside church to share the love of Christ with health care workers and emergency personnel.

During the past three weeks, Sandals Church has converted its in-house manufacturing facility — normally used to make furniture, signage and sermon props among other items — into a PPE production line to help battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Working just 10 at a time to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19, church volunteers and staff have made more than 13,000 plastic gowns, 9,000 N95 masks and hundreds of plastic face shields. The PPE is packaged with a card that reads, “We’re praying for you! Provided and assembled by your friends from Sandals Church and local community volunteers.”

The work is being conducted in partnership with the California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, as well as local charities The Magnon Foundation and Giverside.

“We love people,” said Ron McCoy, executive director of the Sandals Church Foundation. “We want to be a positive voice in a very hard season. We want to show people God in a very tangible way.”

The PPE has been distributed to about two dozen health care and emergency management organizations, including hospitals, senior care facilities, rehabilitation facilities and police departments. The donations have been well received, McCoy said, because California has experienced PPE shortages and price gouging even when the equipment is available for purchase.

More than 2,500 health care workers statewide have been diagnosed with COVID-19, The Los Angeles Times reported, and nurses at one Santa Monica hospital were placed on administrative leave because they refused to enter patient rooms without N95 masks. To combat shortages, Gov. Gavin Newsome announced earlier this month that California will spend nearly $1 billion to provide 200 million masks per month.

Additionally, a federal task force has noted California as a site where criminals are hoarding medical supplies and selling them at exorbitant markups, according to KGO TV in San Francisco.

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Source: Baptist Press