Joe Cianciotto Shares Their Community Story to Help Inspire Others - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Joe Cianciotto Shares Their Community Story to Help Inspire Others

My name is Joe Cianciotto and I have a message to anyone in this country reading this article that there is so much that you can be doing in the wake of COVID-19 to help those around you. It just takes putting yourself out there like I am doing now and having faith in your community to answer the call wherever you may live. At the bottom of this article is my contact information and I invite anyone who is inspired by my words to reach out.

I am sure you are wondering what some guy from Long Island has to do with you.

Let me explain.

As a New Yorker, we were hit particularly hard by the coronavirus and in some ways, my experience might be a preview of what is in store for some of you.

Like so many communities across this country, we were shaken to our core by the dangers this pandemic poses to us all. We know to be scared. Heck, who doesn’t these days? And while fear remains, I have watched it give way to hope, compassion, and gratitude. Gratitude to the nurses, doctors, PA’s, and other first responders who are dutifully putting their lives at risk each day with a lack of proper protective gear still managing to nurse the sickest among us in over-crowded quarters infested with the virus and the prospect of death.

That gratitude has been a source of empowerment. In the last three weeks through a donation drive on my hometown’s Facebook Group, our community was able to connect with a local design shop that transformed their capabilities overnight to produce sorely needed face shields for healthcare first responders. In that time moms, dads, brothers, and sisters of this town donated more than $12,000 and in our first wave were able to give 2,500 face shields to hospitals in the area.

However, once the word got out that we had a line into equipment like this, we were deluged with requests from healthcare workers from a multitude of other hospitals we hadn’t considered, all with a surprisingly similar story. Many had limited supplies of N95 masks and in most cases, no access to PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), or if they did they were sharing with co-workers on a different shift. To try and get at what we thought was a niche need, instead of making another bulk donation to a hospital we held a curbside pick-up in a parking lot behind the local courthouse with a plan to individual give away five masks at a time.

We expected a trickle.  What we got instead over was a flood of first responders desperate for equipment. So much so that in 24 hours we went through our full inventory of 500 face shields.

Talking to all of these amazing people who were desperately in need of protective gear, one reality became horrifically clear. Not only is our country’s shear healthcare footprint unable to handle a crisis like this but our healthcare institutions’ well-meaning systems of procurement, administrative process, and approval protocols were not made to move as fast as we need them to, in order to get this life-saving equipment in the hands of the people on the front lines every day who need it NOW.

In response to this need, we went back to our incredibly compassionate community and in three days raised enough to procure another to meet this demand as long as we are able.

That is our story, and I am sure you will have yours.

But as a fellow human being please know that there is so much that can be done. If you would like to learn more about how you can help out your local hospitals, first responders and small businesses feel free to contact me, Joe Cianciotto at our website https://www.supportgclocal.com/joe-cianciotto. And while this was built for my hometown we would be happy to share our insights and contacts to help anyone who is interested to get started.


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