Written by Kristen Kusek, Former Communications Director for USF CMS
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Joe Donnelly’s job as CMS Facilities Manager requires a lot of running around on a typical month as he helps solve problems big, small, and in-between. But March 2020 was certainly anything but typical, nor were the problems Donnelly was helping to solve as USF transitioned to remote working and online learning in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
A bright spot in the frenzy was rounding up more than 25 boxes of personal protective equipment (PPE) including gowns, masks, goggles, shoe covers, and close to 15,000 pairs of gloves donated by CMS and USFSP research faculty – usually used in marine research — and taking them down the street to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg where medical staff will use them in the fight against the coronavirus.
“It was really no big deal,” said Joe Donnelly, who recently won an outstanding staff award at USF. “Lots of folks went through their stash to see what they could donate.”
But in a world where nothing seems certain, it helps to count on the humility and generosity that course through the veins of the USF and St. Petersburg community, especially in times of need.
Martha Tindol, interim supply chain director for Bayfront Health, was on the receiving end of the donations. “You have been a lifesaver,” she said.
“The College of Marine Science created the momentum around USF,” said Alison Barlow, Executive Director of the St. Petersburg Innovation District, in which CMS plays a key role. Barlow helped coordinate the giving effort and further seized the moment by donating about 600 reusable shopping bags meant to hand out at the St. Petersburg Science Festival – canceled in October 2019 because of a tropical storm – to Feeding Tampa Bay, a local food rescue and distribution nonprofit.
"But in a world where nothing seems certain, it helps to count on the humility and generosity that course through the veins of the USF and St. Petersburg community, especially in times of need."
In addition the Innovation District assembled more than 50 digital resources to promote STEAM for businesses, families, and education purposes and is working with other nonprofits locally to source laptops so staff and children in Pinellas County Schools can work from home.
Additional supplies from USFSP were donated to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
“I am proud of how our CMS community has risen to the challenges at hand,” said CMS Dean Dr. Jackie Dixon, “and I know that CMS, USF, and our community will come through this crisis stronger than ever.”