Venture Crew 2000 donates over one thousand face masks to Hiawatha Fire Department

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Hiawatha Fire Department says a recent donation of more than a thousand face masks is going to be a huge help in protecting them and other healthcare workers right now.

Kyle Young, center, and another member of the Venture 2000 Crew present boxes of face masks to Nick Jellison, right, at the Hiawatha Fire Department on Monday, March 23, 2020 (Taylor Holt/KCRG)

Venture Crew 2000 is a group that's part of the Boy Scouts for America that specializes in medical education for its youth members.

They keep a surplus of medical supplies on hand for educational purposes, but they donated around 1,100 face masks today to the Hiawatha Fire Department.

Several teens in the group said they have felt the impacts of COVID-19 and realized the need among healthcare professionals for personal protective equipment, or PPE. So they decided to do what they could to help.

"My mom works at UnityPoint Clinic so obviously I feel that impact too just being worried about how things might unfold in the near future. So, I know the shortage of masks, she talks about that," Kyle Young, president of the group, said.

"All of these supplies right now are just in complete, total demand right now," Nick Jellison, deputy fire chief for Hiawatha, said. "It's impossible to get from our supply chain right now, any masks things like that, gloves are really hard to get. Anything we use for personal protective equipment right now is in very high demand."

Jellison said face shields, safety glasses, isolation gowns, and gloves are all urgent needs right now.

They plan to distribute the masks to where they are needed most whether in their department or to local hospitals.

If people want to donate other supplies, they can reach out to the department, Linn County Public Health or area hospitals.