GOSHEN, Ind. – N95 masks are very valuable during the coronavirus pandemic.
“These things are like gold,” said Jim Brown, pastor of Grace Community Church. Goshen’s news.
The Indiana pastor hit the maternal vein on March 26, as nearly 30,000 N95 masks and 1,500 bottles of hand cleaner were found in a storage unit. The supplies had been dormant for nearly five years after the church ministry made two unsuccessful attempts to send them overseas on a mercy mission.
“God has dropped a whole bucket of hope in our community,” Brown told the New.
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Five years ago, Beacon health system, which owns Elkhart General Hospital, donated the masks and hand cleaners to Grace4Iraq, the church’s refugee mission.
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“The team tried to get them in, but we couldn’t get them into Iraq,” Brown told the New. “We had, I don’t know, 30,000 masks and probably 1,500 bottles of hand cleaner and we didn’t really know what to do with it. “
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Nick Miller, a member of the congregation, told the pastor he was linked with a charity group in Haiti and offered to send the masks to the Caribbean island, the newspaper reported.
However, Miller encountered the same issues the church faced during its attempted delivery to Iraq.
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“There was just no way to get them in because of the emergency on the ground, just because of the politics,” Brown told the New. “So Nick… put them in a garage somewhere… and they’ve been there for a few years in storage, just sitting there.”
On March 26, one of Miller’s employees reminded him of the masks, Brown said. They went to the storage unit and found the masks still in unopened boxes.
“We realized that our community needed these same masks,” Brown told the New.
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Elkhart County already had three suspected cases of COVID-19 when pastors called, WSBT-TV reported. Since then, 20 more cases of coronavirus have been reported and two people have died, the New reported Wednesday.
Brown, along with fellow Pastor Grace Mike Silliman, contacted Elkhart County Incident Management, according to the newspaper. The agency sent a representative that afternoon, who received 15,000 of the masks, on New reported.
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The other half went to agencies in Kosciusko County and Parkview Fort Wayne, the newspaper reported. Parkview received 5,000 masks, Kosciusko Community Hospital received 10,000, and 1,000 went to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department.
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Melanie Sizemore, Public Information Officer for Emergency Management, said: “It’s great that the church donated it, Melanie Sizemore, Public Information Officer for Emergency Management New. “It was amazing when we got the palette. It’s like the mother’s vein.”
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