GREENVALE, N.Y. - Uma and Eesha Kaushik are sisters who attend Syosset High School. As the coronavirus pandemic worsened, they decided to do something to help medical workers on the front lines.
"They're like our health-care heroes and we have to protect them somehow," Uma said.
So they started a fundraiser on GoFundMe and, through Tuesday, have collected more than $17,000 to purchase and deliver N95 masks and personal protective equipment to workers.
"We had our goal set to $10,000 but in less than a week we passed our goal and said, 'Hey, how about we keep this going,'" Eesha said.
Part of the inspiration behind the cause is their dad, the director of gastroenterology at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, who they want to keep as safe as possible while he treats COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Neeraj Kaushik said that at one point about one-fourth of transporters and environmental service workers at St. Francis were out for confirmed or suspected cases of COVID. He hopes to continue protecting staff by adding to the equipment the hospital already has.
"Only teamwork and everyone joining together will help us defeat this," Dr. Kaushik said.
So far they've distributed thousands of gowns, gloves, and other protective gear to hospitals all throughout Long Island and parts of New York City. Dr. Kaushik and his daughters want people to know no donation is too small.
"Everything counts," he said. "The more we keep getting the more we can keep sharing."
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And they aren't the only people lending a hand.
M&G Packaging in Port Washington is also donating masks to hospitals, the local police departments, and the community. President Charles Rick and his team handed out close to 15,000 masks from his remaining inventory to people for their own protection.
"We all have to stay in our houses, wear protective gear when we need to go out," Rick said.
The masks will allow Kyle Ives to do his part.
"It makes a difference between reinfecting or keeping yourself safe," Ives said.
Uma and Eesha have their work cut out for them.
"We're going to do it until there's no more need," Uma said.