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Newly-formed 'Donate Delaware' collects for hospitals, first responders

Ben Mace * Delaware
ben.mace@doverpost.com
Sussex Countian

What difference can one person make? When that person calls a friend, and they start calling more friends and then businesses, groups and families get involved – it can make a big difference.

That’s how Donate Delaware started last week, and now the group has collected hundreds of donations of medical supplies including masks and gloves for hospitals and first responders in the First State during the coronavirus crisis.

Less than two weeks ago, Donate Delaware co-founder Richard Piendak was riding his bicycle to clear his head, but he just kept thinking about the news of hospitals and first responders running out of personal protective equipment.

“I just felt in my heart that I needed to do something,” said Piendak, who recently retired after selling his former business, Richard’s Paving.

So he called his friend, Dave Tiberi, president of ERP 24/7 Video Monitoring security service.

Tiberi said, “We were talking about everything we’d been seeing on the news and Rich said he was concerned that our hospitals and first responders here in Delaware are running low on supplies. We decided we needed to do something.”

Tiberi came up with the name “Donate Delaware” and another friend started working on the website.

Piendak said, “We went into emergency mode. We started last Tuesday [March 24] and it’s been rolling since then.”

They called Sen. Nicole Poore who arranged a conference call with a representative from ChristianaCare who accepted the offer, and Donate Delaware started collecting masks, gloves and other medical supplies at a building Piendak owns in Newport.

“The response was incredibly positive,” said Tiberi. “Since then we’ve had help from so many friends, volunteers, businesses and state senators and representatives.”

Next, they opened a collection center in the Brandywine Towne Center for Nemours/A.I. du Pont Children’s Hospital, at the Blue Rocks stadium for St. Francis Healthcare and then more sites in Newark, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Seaford, Georgetown, Lewes and Elkton, Maryland. Other hospitals benefiting from the effort include Bayhealth, Beebe, Nanticoke and the Wilmington Veterans Administration Hospital.

“The outpouring of support has been incredible,” said Tiberi.

Expanding the scope

Now they've expanded the collection to also benefit police, firefighters, paramedics and ambulance crews.

“I’ve worked with a lot of first responders and I’ve been involved with training at the Delaware State Police Academy, so I know how important it is for them to have the proper equipment do to their job,” said Tiberi.

Tiberi and Piendak have been coordinating ways to deliver equipment to first responders in all three counties.

“Richard and I have been pretty much living and breathing this every day since we started,” said Tiberi. “We’ve visited the drop-off sites, and it’s so heartwarming to see the outpouring of support. You’ll see one person arrive and make a donation and then a representative of a company pulls up and drops off hundreds of protective suits and plastic glasses. Every little bit helps.”

Where to donate

Brandywine Towne Center, 5329 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., through April 4

Blue Rocks stadium, 801 Shipyard Drive, Wilmington, Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Storefront at 115 College Square, Newark, next to Pep Boys, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through April 4

Storefront at 110 W. Market St., Newport, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., through April 4

Westown Movies, 150 Commerce Drive, Middletown, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., every Wednesday

Xbos Family Fun Center, 465 W. Glenwood Ave., Smyrna, noon to 6 p.m., through April 4

Dover International Speedway, Route 13, Dover, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., through April 4

Delaware Teen Challenge Thrift Store, 22941 Sussex Highway, Seaford, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., through April 4

Five Points Center next to Weis Market, Lewes, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., through April 4

Del Tech, Owens Campus, Georgetown, parking lot near baseball field, noon to 6 p.m., through April 4

Dollar General, Village at Elkton, next to the farmers market, Elkton, Maryland, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through April 4

Pick up of large donations is available by calling 302-750-1998.

What’s needed

Note: All donated items need to be unused, in the package please.

♦ Protective masks, especially N95 masks;

♦ Protective suits and medical scrubs;

♦ Goggles, safety glasses and face shields;

♦ Cleaning and sterilizing solutions and wipes:

♦ Hand sanitizer;

♦ Disposable stethoscopes.

Volunteers are needed to help at collection sites to accept community donations at a safe distance.

Volunteers are encouraged to sign up with people you have been sheltering in place with.

To sign up or for more information, see DonateDelaware.org or call (302) 750-1998