Donations now centralized through Polk County Emergency Management

Greater Des Moines companies continue to demonstrate their generosity with donations of personal protective equipment for Central Iowa health workers. 

To make the donation process more efficient, Polk County Emergency Management, working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is now serving as the central point of contact for organizations that want to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) to health systems in Greater Des Moines. 

“There has been significant media coverage about the volume of PPE needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic, many individuals and companies are coming forward with offers to donate PPE,” said Nola Aigner Davis, public information officer with Polk County Emergency Management. “It is important that these supplies are used judiciously and effectively throughout our community.  

“Moving forward, the Polk County Medical Coordination Center is requesting that all donations of PPE be made to the Polk County Emergency Management Center. This allows for a coordinated effort across Polk County in a standard fashion when possible.” 

Before that change, on Tuesday Des Moines-based Kemin Industries donated more than 10,000 items and articles of PPE, including masks, safety glasses, gloves, coverall safety suits and disposable lab coats, to the Iowa Department of Public Health. 

“Our Kemin COVID-19 Response Team worked with our lab and manufacturing teams to gather and donate as much surplus as possible,” Kemin spokeswoman Lauren Burt said. “As a science-based ingredient manufacturer, Kemin also uses PPE items in our labs and manufacturing. We will continue to donate surplus as we have it available.” 

MedPharm Iowa, the medicinal cannabis company owned by Kemin’s president and CEO, Chris Nelson, also made a large donation of PPE items to ChildServe last week. The items included gloves, N95 masks, half-face respirators and P95 filters. 

Annuity and life insurance company Athene USA earlier this week donated 900 N95 masks to Broadlawns Medical Center. The West Des Moines company had the masks on hand as part of its corporate disaster plan.

“As Athene has moved to a majority of our employees working off-site as part of CDC’s recommended social distancing guidelines, we recognized that Broadlawns has an immediate need that we could serve,” Athene’s president and CEO, Grant Kvalheim, said.

“PPE, especially the N95 masks, are essential to protecting health care providers on the front lines of this public health crisis,” he said. “We are grateful for the workers on the front line, and it is our honor to give back to our community, even in difficult times.”

To make a donation of PPE, contact Tim Ramsey from Polk County Health Department at tim.ramsey@polkcountyiowa.gov.