Learn how your own gently used gown can be put to good use during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Kelly Vaughan
May 26, 2020
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All across the country, ordinary people are searching for ways to help the healthcare workers and hospitals fighting the coronavirus pandemic. And while high school, college, and graduate school graduations will look a little different this year due to social distancing guidelines, soon-to-be graduate Nathaniel Moore wanted to put his cap and gown to good use, even though he wouldn't be wearing it to walk across the stage. Moore, a 30-year-old physician's assistant from the University of Vermont, Burlington, started Gowns 4 Good, a non-profit charity that collects graduation gowns and donates them to hospital facilities lacking the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to safely take care of patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

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"We are getting cries for help—from New York City emergency departments that have hundreds of patients coming in a day and they have no adequate gown protection to assisted living facilities that are sending us pictures of their staff without gowns," Moore told Reuters.

Medical facilities are still lacking PPE in the fight against COVID-19, and healthcare workers are using anything they can to protect themselves and their patients—even trash bags, according to Gowns 4 Good. In order to provide healthcare workers with safe and effective PPE, the charity is upcycling new or gently used graduation gowns. "The image of my colleagues on the front line and at other medical facilities that lack the appropriate PPE and wearing trash bags with no sleeves and no protection under the waist, that just struck me," Moore said.

Medical facilities across the country have already submitted thousands of gown requests from the charity. So far, Moore has collected more than 10,000 gowns from private donors and another 2,700 from corporate partners. There is still a huge need though—more than 87,000 gowns have been requested by medical facilities. Visit Gowns 4 Good to learn how to donate your graduation gown to a local hospital or health care center in need.

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