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Avedis announces local partnership to provide PPE to area nonprofits

Staff report
The Shawnee News-Star

The Avedis Foundation has joined with South Central Industries (SCI) to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) to be distributed to area nonprofit organizations.

Avedis President and CEO Dr. Kathy Laster leads the foundation’s monthly Nonprofit Executive Director Roundtable, which serves in part as a forum to address the challenges of local nonprofit organizations. Throughout discussions about COVID-19 protocols and best practices, Laster said she recognized an emerging need among the organizations: PPE.

“Securing an adequate supply of PPE is one of the recurring challenges expressed among our local nonprofit directors,” Laster said. “These are the organizations that provide essential resources to our community, so it is imperative that they receive the protective equipment necessary to maintain safe environments within their organizations to ensure the safety of their staffs and the clients they serve.”

Laster said the Foundation has partnered with Shawnee-based South Central Industries (SCI), committing more than $52,000 to provide PPE to 16 local nonprofit organizations.

Some of the PPE items purchased include protective face shields, disposable gloves and masks, safety glasses, disinfecting spray, hand sanitizing solutions and dispensers.

SCI provides vocational training and occupational opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. Its recently opened business, SCI Supply, at 622 W. Ayre St., in Shawnee, now provides a retail storefront for PPE, as well as household and commercial janitorial and office supplies.

“We are thrilled to be supporting SCI and our nonprofits with this purchase order,” Laster said. “Executive directors of local nonprofits share our desire to keep the benefits local for a project of this scale. It’s great to be in a community with so many good people working together.”

SCI Executive Director Tina Hanna said, “we have been so blessed to work on this project for Avedis Foundation and for our fellow nonprofits in the Shawnee area. The support and faith placed in us by Avedis and our colleagues to meet their PPE needs has meant a lot to us. This is a large undertaking and we are excited to deliver the goods.”

Renée Clemmons, executive director for the nonprofit Project: SAFE, summarized the impact of the donation.

“Project: SAFE is truly grateful for the assistance that Avedis has provided in purchasing PPE for our agency,” she said. “Their support has not only allowed us to prioritize keeping our staff and clients safe while we continue to serve victims of abuse, but it has saved precious funds that would have been pulled from direct client services.”

Other nonprofits to receive PPE through the endeavor include the Boy Scouts; Youth and Family Resource Center, Inc.; The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Shawnee; Community Renewal of Pottawatomie County; the American Red Cross; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma – Shawnee; Community Market of Pottawatomie County; Mission Shawnee; Shawnee YMCA; Gateway to Prevention and Recovery; Neighboring 101; Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency; Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art; Legacy Parenting Center; and SCI.