JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Across the country, thousands of schools and universities are canceling or delaying graduation ceremonies because of the coronavirus. That means a lot of graduation gowns are collecting dust, but one group is making it easy for you to send your gown to healthcare workers to use as personal protective equipment.
The group is called Gowns4Good, and its founder, Than Moore, is a physician's assistant. Moore says some workers have resorted to using trash bags as an alternative to P-P-E.
He says graduation gowns can offer better protection – so he’s asking for donations to send to healthcare workers across the country.
"A graduation gown, when worn backward, has a high riding neckline as opposed to a V-neck in the front," Moore said. "Then has full-length sleeves and protection below the waist. So it provides adequate coverage."
Than Moore launched this initiative when the COVID-19 pandemic really started taking shape. He says so far, more than 1,900 gowns have been individually donated. But more Moore says they're far from meeting their goal.
"We've received over 41,000 requests for gowns all across the country," Moore said. "So anywhere from large hospitals and institutions to assisted living facilities and EMS clinics, there is such a need and everyone is reaching out."
The group is also accepting gowns that aren’t being used for the 2020 graduations. Donating is simple. Click here to access the website:
Potential donors can type in how many gowns they'd like to donate. From there, they can select from a drop-down menu which participating facility they'd like to send their gown or gowns to. Donors will then get instructions on how to ship their gown through the mail. Also, healthcare workers who feel their facilities are in need of gowns can apply to get that facility's name on the list as well.
What's more, the group also wants to honor this year's graduating seniors whose walks across the stage have been put on hold. They can get a special "Gowns4Good" logo to wear on their caps.
"If they were to still have a postponed ceremony or a digital ceremony, they can signify their efforts to honor their achievements by wearing their caps with pride and supporting 'Gowns4Good'," Moore said.
If you do not have a gown to donate, but want to help anyway, you can give money donations through the website also.