MATTER helps provide health care workers with protective equipment

During our #WhyWeGive campaign over the holiday season, we told you about the great work MATTER is doing to help provide families with healthy foods. The St. Louis Park-based organization is now adapting to the COVID-19 crisis. 

They’re providing Stay At Home Kits, which include everything needed to assemble 50 healthy snack packs. Volunteers can pick up a box at MATTER headquarters, or have it delivered. 

It contains a whole grain cracker, unsweetened applesauce, protein butter, a goal card and handwritten note of encouragements. Once assembled, the snack packs are handed out to families in need.

MATTER is also working to make sure those on the front lines of the crisis have the protective equipment they need.

The MATTER warehouse contains boxes of medical supplies, which were donated by local hospitals.

“Typically we’re sending them overseas to underdeveloped clinics and hospitals that really put them to use on a regular basis,” said Quenton Marty, the organization’s president. “This time, however, we found our hospital partners calling us and saying, 'We need some of those supplies right now.'”

He said they’ve shifted their focus to meet the needs of health care providers in the Twin Cities.

“I think the very first thing we heard was, 'Masks, do you have masks?'” Marty said. “The good news was when this started happening we did, we had a lot of masks. The hospitals had given them to us, they had excess supply at the time, so we had them stored here.

“We got them on our trucks and got them back to the hospitals so those front line workers could quickly have the materials they needed.”

Marty said they’ve now shipped out tens of thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment to their partners.  

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“We’re now down to the last few,” he said. “We’re thankful they’re all into the hands of people who can use them.”

Before the crisis hit home, he said they received a request from a doctor they work with at Mayo Clinic. She is originally from China and asked if they could help Wuhan.

“Back in January she called and said, 'We have a situation that’s developing and so we need masks. Can you supply masks?'” Marty said.

MATTER responded and sent a shipment over to China. They’ve also been able to send extra supplies to partners in Zimbabwe, Senegal and Anguilla. 

Two weeks ago they put about 40 hospital beds on a truck to New York City.

“As we continue to get supplies in equipment in, we’re ready to ship it out to the places where there’s need, including our partners around the world,” Marty said. “We’re going to stay strong and energetic here as best we can, stay healthy to be ready to serve when called upon.”

For more information about MATTER and its COVID-19 response, click here.