Lake Forest Resident Steps Up to Help with COVID-19 Crisis

  • Lake Forest resident Steve Platcow donates hazmat suits to the Lake Forest Police Department.Courtesy of Steve Platcow

    Lake Forest resident Steve Platcow donates hazmat suits to the Lake Forest Police Department.Courtesy of Steve Platcow

Carolyn Jacobs
Updated 4/2/2020 12:38 PM

Last week Lake Forest resident Steve Platcow was listening to the news about the ongoing medical supply shortages across the country, when he suddenly remembered he had several hazmat suits sitting in storage. Platcow reached out to his local first responders at the Lake Forest Police Department and offered to donate them. They were thrilled to hear about the donation, given that Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) supplies are in great demand worldwide. They rushed right over to pick up the suits. This was just one example of how average people are stepping up to help during the COVID-19 crisis.

"It felt so good to know that I was able to help our local community in some small way," said Platcow, who is also a founding member of the Lake Forest Police Foundation. The foundation supports the important work of the Lake Forest Police Department through monetary and equipment donations.


In recent days, medical professionals have taken to Facebook and other platforms to express their desperate need for these PPE supplies. During a recent press briefing, Vice President Mike Pence addressed the shortage and asked for construction companies to check their inventories for the essential N95 masks and to donate any supplies they had to their local hospitals. This sentiment was echoed by the Illinois Health and Hospital Association when they made a plea to dentists, veterinarians, construction workers and other businesses to donate their respirator masks to help the state's 200 hospitals protect their workers. There have also been calls from various groups for surgical gowns, rubber gloves and protective eye wear as those supplies start to dwindle.

These pleas have inspired individuals like Platcow to try to do anything they can to help the people who are on the front lines of this crisis. Sewing groups have been popping up on social media offering designs for surgical masks that fellow sewing enthusiasts can make in order to provide medical professionals with another layer of protection from the deadly virus. There are also YouTube videos teaching people how to make protective face shields with only a few materials that can be purchased online. Individuals are trying to do what they can to help the heroes who are risking their lives every day to help the people impacted by COVID-19.

There is such a demand for the N95 masks right now that hospitals are welcoming even small quantities from individuals. People may find they have a few N95 masks on a shelf in their basement or garage. These are critical supplies for hospital personnel as the new coronavirus cases continue to rise. The CDC spells out the equipment guidelines for gloves, gowns and masks on its website. Anyone looking to give monetary or supply donations should contact their local first responders or their area hospitals for exact drop-off instructions.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.