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Salesian Spirit Shining Through: DeSales Donates Food, Medical Supplies to Those in Need

by Janelle Hill Mar 30, 2020

Faculty and staff across DeSales University are banding together to help those hardest hit during the Coronavirus crisis. 

Jaime Gerhart, director of the Center for Service and Social Justice, has been helping to  spearhead the effort to give. She reached out to Sodexo, the University’s food services provider, when it became clear that students wouldn’t be coming back to campus. 

Sodexo donated enough fruits and vegetables to fill an entire refrigerator. Gerhart steered the produce to New Bethany Ministries, Victory House, and Safe Harbor Easton, which are all working to feed those in need.  

“To be able to provide something for someone else was very spiritually sustaining for me. I feel like everyone is trying so very hard to do the best that they can for our DeSales community and our local community. People really want to help each other, which is just wonderful to hear.”

Jaime Gerhart, director of the Center for Service and Social Justice

Other departments across campus also joined forces for the greater good. The biology and chemistry programs donated a carload of personal protective equipment (PPE) to St. Luke’s University Health Network. 

The Healthcare Simulation Center staff also teamed up with the nursing, physician assistant (PA), and doctor of physical therapy (DPT) programs to give PPE to St. Luke’s and Lehigh Valley Health Network—the valley’s two main healthcare providers. Dr. Carol Gullo Mest, chair of the graduate nursing programs, had seen a news report on the anticipated shortage of PPE and decided to act. 

“With the agreement of our administrators, I reached out to my contacts at the two local health systems, who were so grateful for the donations and provided me the drop off locations,” Gullo Mest says. “It was the least we could do for them, knowing all that they do for us and our community.”

In all, the programs collected and donated more than 13,000 individual gloves, along with an estimated 300 masks and 200 gowns. They also gave surgical caps, shoe covers, Lysol bottles, and Clorox wipes.  

“We got together everything that we had,” says Melissa Carabba, assistant director of the SIM Center, who also serves as an EMT. “We are well aware of what our brethren is up against. Basic PPE is a first step in potentially sending somebody home to their loved ones, which is really important.”