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Warehouse worker

Northeastern is sending surplus pandemic supplies to a Roxbury healthcare center

A warehouse worker prepares surplus personal protective equipment to be delivered to the Whittier Street Health Center. The items donated by Northeastern are worth more than $280,000. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Northeastern is providing thousands of face shields, examination gloves, and other excess coronavirus supplies for free to the Whittier Street Health Center near the Boston campus. The products are worth about $280,000 and “couldn’t have come at a better time,” says the head of the clinic that mainly serves Black and Hispanic patients.

The items include more than 400,000 nasal swabs that will be delivered over the next few days, says John Tobin, vice president for city and community engagement at Northeastern. The university and Whittier have a decades-long relationship aided by their close proximity. “It’s not just Roxbury residents who go there, but also Northeastern students,” he says.

Northeastern is donating more than $280,000 worth of extra face shields, nasal swabs, and other personal protective equipment to Whittier Street Health Center, a health clinic in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Christopher D'Orazio, a warehouse worker, sorts through the donated items on April 26, 2021. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Whittier serves about 30,000 people in total annually, and almost all of them are communities of color, says Frederica Williams, president and chief executive officer of Whittier. “COVID has surfaced deep inequities within this community,” she says. “Northeastern’s supplies are a huge investment in their health and wellness. We are deeply grateful.”

“COVID has surfaced deep inequities within this community,” says Frederica Williams, president and chief executive officer of Whittier Street Health Center. “Northeastern’s supplies are a huge investment in their health and wellness. We are deeply grateful.” Photos by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Whittier found it needed more personal protective equipment after it began vaccinations, she added. Northeastern, meanwhile, was looking to find a worthy use for the extra inventory. Whittier plans to use the items as soon as they are delivered.

“It has given us peace of mind knowing we have sufficient supplies for our patients and our staff, who have been on the front lines all year long,” says Williams.

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