During hard times, it’s uplifting to know that people and organizations here in Windham county and beyond value the contributions being made by health care workers during the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19.

That’s why the Brattleboro Retreat is honored to offer its public thanks for the tremendous outpouring of donated equipment and supplies received over the past several weeks. It’s simply one of several silver linings that have accompanied the otherwise worrisome and unpredictable Coronavirus pandemic.

"Low inventories of personal protective equipment have been a definite struggle for the Retreat and for hospitals everywhere," said Konstantin von Krusenstiern, the Retreat's vice president of Development and Communications. "Fortunately we have received a number of donations, mostly unsolicited, from people and organizations who appreciate what healthcare workers have been up against and who have decided to take action."

Early in the COVID-19 crisis, the Retreat received a generous donation of 1,000 procedure masks courtesy of New Chapter, Inc., which is one of the many brands owned by consumer goods giant Proctor & Gamble. Several weeks later, New Chapter donated 55 gallons of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to the hospital.

The folks at W.W. Building Supply in Newfane, Vermont recently donated 100 plastic face shields they fabricated themselves. The face shields were accompanied by additional sets of new gloves and face masks.

The Retreat also received a donation of 500 plastic face shields from Ford Motor Company during the week of April 27.

Hospital officials and staff are also grateful to the many community members and Retreat employees who have donated hundreds of handmade cloth face masks to the facility. Per recent CDC guidance, these are now recommended equipment to be worn by healthcare workers.

Vermont sock maker Darn Tough recently sent the Retreat 350 pairs of their wonderful, high-quality socks to be distributed to Retreat staff who work in clinical departments, facilities, and security. This was part of a statewide donation of 10,000 pairs of socks that Darn Tough earmarked specifically for healthcare workers in Vermont.

"It's hard to put into words what these donations have meant to our staff and to our organization as a whole," added von Krusenstiern. "The items that have been so generously given serve an important role in providing peace of mind for front line staff and ultimately saving lives, so the feeling goes way beyond a simple thank you."