Lehigh Valley community offers support during COVID-19

Last updated May 15, 2020 – New stories include AEDC tenant JH Plastics manufacturing safety dividers, St. Luke’s & Lehigh University partnering up to invent a device that sterilizes 200 masks in eight minutes , Allentown’s newest brewery donating proceeds to three local non-profits, and Moravian College students 3D printing masks around the clock.

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The great lengths that people go to take care of each other during times of need says a lot about a community. The level of selflessness seen from businesses and individuals in the Lehigh Valley community during COVID-19 has presented itself as one silver lining in this crisis. We’ve compiled a list of some of the ways in which the people are going above and beyond to help others, which you’ll find on the page below and on Instagram @lvmadepossible.

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Helpful Links

Donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

A multi-agency effort is underway to connect businesses that have available health care supplies with care-providing sites throughout the region that have a need for those supplies. Items being sought include N95 masks, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, surgical masks bleach, gloves, surgical gowns, thermometers, ventilators, electrostatic disinfectant sprayers, and more. If your organization has items and you are willing to provide them for regional health care sites, visit this link and form coordinated by the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley for information about how to donate them.

Funding Access for Lehigh Valley Businesses

Local, State and Federal agencies are providing financing assistance to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation efforts. Click here for important financing information and connections with special government financing programs during the current emergency, as well as the regular financing options available through LVEDC and local Lehigh Valley lenders.

Going above and beyond for the community

  • JH Plastics, a custom plastics manufacturing business and client company of Allentown Economic Development Corporation’s Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, has made close to 3,000 plastic panels, desk toppers and intubation shields. Panels are being used as dividers in grocery chains and convenience stores including Wegmans, Giant, Whole Foods, 7-Eleven, Sunoco and Subway to protect shoppers and cashiers from the spread of COVID-19.
  • St. Luke’s University Health Network and Lehigh University joined forces to design and fabricate a device that effectively and efficiently sterilizes 200 medical masks in just eight minutes. The two organizations collaborated through Zoom meetings and hundreds of emails, to design, fabricate, install and test the device – all within a matter of two weeks and all while maintaining social distancing protocols. Read the full story here.
  • Help support local businesses! The Lehigh Valley Chamber has launched Gift Card Grab Week (May 3 – 9) in an effort to support local businesses and give customers a discount on future products, food, or services. The Chamber is asking businesses to come up with a gift card deal to offer consumers and share details via the Chamber’s online form by May 1 to be included in the master list which will be be promoted and distributed.
  • The Lehigh Valley Chamber’s COVID-19 Relief Fund partnered with generous local donors to distribute three rounds of grants totaling $450,000 to local businesses to help them weather the effects of the pandemic on their business. They’ve sent a total of 300 checks for $1,500 each to local businesses to help with paying rent, making payroll, or other operation expenses. Find out more at lehighvalleychamber.org.
  • Business and community groups in the city of Easton have come together to launch the Support Easton Small Business Relief Fund with a goal of raising $300,000 to provide emergency capital to small business owners in the city. They’ve also created a list of local businesses you can support right now. Learn more at supporteaston.com.
  • The Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley has created a COVID-19 Resource and Needs page in an effort to mobilize resources including volunteers and skilled services as well as supplies needed for the many organizations remaining operational during this time.
  • OraSure Technologies has been awarded a federal contract to develop an in-home oral coronavirus test, leveraging their global experience and capabilities with self-tests to thwart the spread of COVID-19.
  • Cityline Construction sourced and purchased 40,000 gallons of a medical-grade sanitizing solution to donate to those on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. The company also sourced and purchased one-gallon plastic bottles and 55-gallon drums from all around the country and hired independent trucking contractors to expedite the delivery to Allentown. The total donation value, including labor and materials, is estimated to be around $300,000.
  • Factory LLC and its brand partners, Pipcorn Heirloom Snacks, Honey Stinger, Stuffed Puffs and Mikey’s, have teamed up to provide 1 million meals to those in need through Meals Up and Feeding America. Collectively, the brand partners contributed a donation of $100,000.
  • Local distilleries took the opportunity to quickly shift production to create hand sanitizer for first responders, hospitals, clinics, and nonprofit groups serving the community. To date, Eight Oaks has donated more than 40,000 bottles to the community and they’re ramping up production to make even more in the coming weeks. Other local distilleries have stepped up in big ways as well; Social Still, Christmas City Spirits, Triple Sun Spirits, County Seat Spirits, Black River Farms, Kilimanjaro Distillery and Insurrection Distillery have all answered the call to produce hand sanitizer and get it to those in need.
  • Lehigh Valley’s newest brewery is finding a way to give back to the community. McCall Collective Beer Company, which is slated to open in Allentown this summer, is donating 100% of the proceeds from online presales of their first production beer to one of three nonprofits affected by COVID19: Turning Point of Lehigh Valley, National Association on Mental Illness – Lehigh Valley, and YMCA of Allentown’s Feed the Kids program
  • Mack Trucks Lehigh Valley Operations has donated goggles, face shields, heavy nitrile gloves and safety glasses to St. Luke’s, as well as $10,000 to the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast PA.
  • Fanatics is now using its Lehigh Valley manufacturing facility to make masks and gowns for hospitals and emergency personnel fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Freshpet bought more than $20,000 in gift cards for its 400+ full-time employees in the Lehigh Valley. They will give each of their employees who are producing pet food during the pandemic a $50 gift card every two weeks for one of five local family-owned restaurants.
  • Workers at medical device manufacturer B. Braun remain on the job, making medical supplies that healthcare providers around the world are using to treat COVID-19 patients, including on the United States Navy hospital ships in New York and Los Angeles, the USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy.
  • Lehigh Valley colleges have been opening their dorms for doctors and nurses on front line of coronavirus fight. St. Luke’s and LVHN have approached Cedar Crest College, DeSales University, Moravian College, Muhlenberg College and Lehigh University about space for medical professionals to stay in if they need to self-quarantine or do not feel comfortable going home to their families after working with patients.
  • Local colleges are using technology to 3D print masks and materials for front-line healthcare workers. Lafayette College is using 3D printers to help supply needed equipment, including disposable stethoscopes for St. Luke’s University Health Network and face shields for Easton Hospital. Muhlenberg College has been printing face shields for LVHN.
  • Local businesses including Kaplan Awnings and Mercantile Home have joined the army of sewing machine operators making face masks for health care workers.
  • Lehigh Career & Technical Institute donated more than 9,000 N95 face masks and 22,600 pairs of gloves, plus safety glasses and goggles to protect local health care workers.
  • Huaxia Chinese School – Lehigh Valley donated more than $33,000 worth of medical masks to local healthcare providers in the region.
  • After learning many youth and families have been isolated in apartments without any communication devices, Victaulic donated 22 refurbished laptops to Valley Youth House, helping individuals maintain connections to their family, friends and schools.
  • Applied Separations is providing clean suits that have been baked in the company furnace, for re-use by first responders, paramedics, and others who are on the front lines fighting COVID-19.
  • ProtoCAM and Filament Innovations are working with Lehigh Valley healthcare providers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by developing, producing, and testing 3D-printed bio-compatible medical masks.
  • Verde Mantis, manufacturer of the Mantis 3D Printer, is producing the face shields in volume, as well as sharing its production file with other companies to enable volunteers in the Berks, Lehigh Valley, and Monroe Personal Protective Equipment resource networks
  • Game Face Grooming manufactures a proprietary product line of wipes which kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria. The company will be donating 500 packages of wipes to Street 2 Feet, an organization that is assisting the local homeless community.
  • Main Street Market in Bangor has been providing “Blessing Boxes”, filled with about a week’s worth of food and essential items, for members of the community who may be struggling financially or negatively affected from the impacts of COVID-19.
  • 29 Cooks has started a campaign to help feed doctors, nurses and other medical professionals battling the coronavirus pandemic at LVHN’s intensive care units in Salisbury. They’ve raised more than $15,000 through Go Fund Me to help provide meals to local healthcare heroes.
  • Smooth-On has repurposed one of its large mixing vessels to make hand sanitizer in accordance with WHO and FDA formula guidelines. The first recipients from the inaugural production batch are local hospitals and nursing homes who are receiving cases of hand sanitizer.
  • Stargazer Cast Iron, a cast iron cookware manufacturer in Allentown, is donating 10 percent of proceeds from purchases made through online sales in April to local Lehigh Valley restaurants Bolete, the Bayou, and Union & Finch.
  • Staff at Via of the Lehigh Valley, a nonprofit that provides services for children and adults with disabilities, are finding creative ways to stay in touch. The people who Via serve are used to working and socializing, making it difficult to be stuck inside and isolated. Many of Via’s staff chose to keep working through the pandemic to provide essential services, reaching clients over the phone, through video, or house calls or joining their clients on walks.
  • When faced with challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak, the tourism community and organizations across Lehigh Valley have stepped up to lend a hand and give back to the community. Click here for the list of organizations making a difference.

At Home Recreation, Entertainment, and Education Options

Discover Lehigh Valley created At Home, offering ways to explore Lehigh Valley from the comfort of your home. They’ve gathered resources to stay connected to happenings across the region such as virtual tours and classes, event live-streams, at-home activity packs for the family, and information on restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries offering curbside, take-out, and delivery options. Stay connected on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.

As a community-focused arts organization, ArtsQuest has been committed to providing free and low-cost arts, cultural and educational programming to the Lehigh Valley and millions of visitors for decades. While the spread of COVID-19 has caused everyone to change their daily life and work routines, they’re still working to bring the arts to you. Visit SteelStacks.org/athome/ for digital events, visual arts, live concerts and other fun activities for the family. They’ve also launched ArtSmart at Home, providing free daily content to keep your brain engaged.

C.F. Martin & Co. has brought people together through music for centuries. Now they’re hosting Jam In Place sessions to allow people to stay connected through music from the comfort of their own homes. The Jam in Place Facebook Live series features a new artist almost daily, performing live from their own spaces. Click here for the upcoming schedule.

Lehigh Valley Public Media and local educators have launched Lehigh Valley Learns, over-the-air programming that is broadcast free and is accessible for Pennsylvania students. The remote learning curriculum is broadcast on PBS39’s channels so anyone with a TV can learn remotely, with grade-specific programming (Grades K-5) at the same time each weekday.

DaVinci Science Center launched Science at Home, continuing to bring science to life and lives to science, even when families are confined to their homes. The site includes learning resources, useful links, activities, and experiments to keep families engaged and busy.

Please share any additional stories with us that we may have missed.