As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to sweep across the state of Alabama and the nation, there are several inspiring stories of Alabamians coming together to support those in need. Whether it be sewing personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals, delivering meals to the pandemic's frontline workers, or making donations to those affected by COVID-19, the people of Alabama have certainly demonstrated a genuine care and concern for their neighbors.
Our medical and healthcare professionals are dealing with a major nationwide shortage of PPE. This protective equipment is worn by doctors, nurses, and other caregivers in hospitals and healthcare facilities to reduce the spread of infection and keep those working on the frontlines safe. PPE includes face masks and shields, gloves, gowns, respirators, shoe coverings, etc. The limited availability of PPE puts any one who comes in contact with COVID-19 patients at serious risk. Healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients do not have the option of engaging in social distancing, especially while treating patients for a prolonged period of time. Access to PPE is critical to the health and safety of these dedicated workers and allows them to continue performing their jobs.
Many gracious Alabamians from North Alabama down to the Wiregrass and Gulf Coast have stepped up to the plate to provide assistance. Several Alabamians, specifically in the Second District, have formed groups dedicated to sewing face masks for local healthcare workers and hospital facilities. Thousands of individuals across the state have gathered at homes, businesses, and churches to quickly volunteer their efforts and offer their services to those healthcare workers and first responders in need across their communities. Many volunteers have also cooked or catered large quantities of food to be delivered to the pandemic's frontline workers, ensuring these workers have food to eat as they continue to treat COVID-19 patients. Others have donated supplies and funds to organizations in need.
The heartwarming stories that have circulated the state these past few weeks are ones that are filled with encouragement. During a time of uncertainty, these examples of selfless service from Alabama's very own people bring much hope. I want to give a very special thank you to all of those individuals and businesses who have stepped up to support those in need during this unprecedented health crisis. As we all do our part to continue combatting this horrific virus, I encourage you to lend a helping hand if you feel inclined to do so. Many volunteer groups are specific to your communities and have been highlighted by local news outlets. You can also visit the state's official COVID-19 response webpage, AL Together, for more information on ways to get involved. Alabama is full of resilient people, and we will continue to work together to fight this virus.