PPE is in short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic, and individuals and businesses everywhere are stepping up to donate what they can. Here’s how one Canadian dog apparel company is doing their part.
A Canadian dog apparel business has taken on COVID-19 by organizing a GoFundMe so they can donate KN95 masks to frontline workers in Canada and the United States.
Jacqueline Prehogan, founder and CEO of Canada Pooch, and her husband Isaac have heard many stories from their friends and family members in the healthcare industry. The stories told of a lack of PPE, the risks taken by frontline workers, and the severity of the illness. “They are putting themselves at risk every single day,” says Prehogan.
Prehogan said the idea came when their regular supplier offered to send KN95 masks for her company. The supplier had heard there was a shortage of masks in Canada and they wanted to help Canada Pooch. From there, Prehogan started thinking about how there were so many people in her circle of friends and family who could use masks. Then they started thinking how many people outside of their circle they could help.
Through their established supply network for cut and sew products, they were able to source new manufacturing partners to find several factories that made the KN95 masks. While the KN95 masks differ slightly from N95 masks, they are still considered effective in the prevention of contracting COVID-19. Prehogan said she and her husband went through the list of factories and whittled them down based on reliability and credibility.
On March 30, Prehogan and her husband created the GoFundMe account to raise $60,000. The Prehogans donated the first $20,000. Five days later, the couple had surpassed their goal.
The Prehogans will be able to purchase 100,000 masks to donate. They placed calls to many hospitals in an attempt to find the places that had the highest need for the masks. Ultimately, they decided to donate the masks to hospitals in Ontario and Quebec, as well as several hospitals in the United States.
Prehogan said one of the major obstacles for getting the masks is shipping. Currently, goods from China may take several weeks to arrive. Lack of flights makes shipping more difficult, but Prehogan said they used the chartered flight shipping option to help speed up the process. “We are expediting the shipping,” she says. “We’re paying a little bit extra, because we feel that time is such a high, critical priority.”
Now that the Prehogans have exceeded their goal of $60,000, they have increased their goal to $70,000. According to Prehogan,the more money they have, the more masks they can get. “This is going to be an ongoing issue for a significant period of time,” she adds. “There is going to be this need to fill in those gaps.”
Prehogan is amazed at the generosity of those who have donated to their cause. “I am truly moved by the sense of community and the genuine kindness I have seen over the last several days,” said Prehogan on her GoFundMe page.
Anyone interested in donating to the cause can visit gofundme.com and search for 100,000 masks Toronto, ON.