Nonprofits not waiting on state for protective gear

Coronavirus

TRUMBULL, Conn. (WTNH) — The precious cargo Rick Sebastian, CEO of The Kennedy Center, was waiting for did not show up Tuesday: PPE.

“It was supposed to be delivered today,” he said. “We are part of that disrupted global supply chain.”

Nonprofits like The Kennedy Center for the developmentally disabled remain at the bottom of the state’s priority list.

“I would say the state’s lack of the ability to provide resources for us has created an opportunity,” he told News 8.

Down to its last few boxes of gloves, the center pivoted.

They were supposed to open a consignment shop and café for their clients.

But now, that space is a shipping and receiving center for personal protective gear.

“Here we’ve got a makeshift pick pack operation,” Sebastian said while describing the area.

Through an online store collaboration with a clothing manufacturer – which now makes protective gear – they have sold to 75 entities including group homes, fire departments, cities and churches.

For many nonprofits, figuring out how to get protective gear because the state can’t is about surviving.

States are fighting one another over getting protective gear too. Connecticut hasn’t received all of its shipments from the federal stockpile. The federal delegation is aware.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D) said she has asked for an accounting of the $16 billion spent by the federal government on supplies from the nation’s stockpile. DeLauro said she is still waiting for answers and added the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gets 20% of the supply.

“Eighty percent of it goes into a commercial pipeline, and what happens in a commercial pipeline? That’s why you have got Connecticut bidding against Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York.”

Connecticut ordered 18.8 million units for $50 million – most of it reimbursable by the federal government.

Tuesday, Governor Ned Lamont’s staff admitted deliveries have been tight, but a significant delivery has arrived.

Back in Trumbull the corporate/social responsibility will continue. As for the late delivery?

Sebastian said, “Fingers crossed, toes crossed the freight follower will be here on Thursday.”

The mark up on product is a few cents for credit card transactions. His customers said the pennies bring peace of mind.

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