UM Donates Supplies to Lafayette County Emergency Management

More than 1,300 ponchos to be used by medical personnel responding to COVID-19 crisis

Steve Quarles, Lafayette County emergency management director, shows off the ponchos donated by the Ole Miss athletics department to be used as physical protection equipment at local health facilities amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – With surgical gowns for medical personnel in short supply, volunteers at the University of Mississippi have donated more than 1,300 ponchos to Lafayette County Emergency Management officials responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steve Quarles, LCEM director, contacted Amanda Drew, UM emergency management coordinator, for help with personal protective equipment, specifically ponchos for the local health care facilities in town. The request was made because additional protective equipment is needed, and ponchos are a good alternative to gowns.

“I contacted (the Department of Intercollegiate) Athletics and University and Public Events to help with this request,” Drew said. “I let them know what we needed, the quantity and where everything was going. University and Public Events later texted me to come pick everything up.

“They even included hand sanitizers, which we didn’t request.”

Keith Carter, vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics, said his department was eager to respond to the request.

Amanda Drew (center), UM emergency management coordinator, and Josh Glasz (right), emergency management specialist, deliver ponchos donated by the Ole Miss athletics department to Steve Quarles, Lafayette County emergency management director. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

“As a nation, we are facing this crisis together, and our department will always seek out ways we can help our community, particularly when challenges arise,” Carter said. “Once we became aware of the lack of medical gowns, and ponchos were suggested as an alternative, we contacted our official retail partner, Fanatics, to determine what could be done.

“We appreciate Fanatics’ partnership and their generosity in this time of need. Oxford-Ole Miss is truly a family, and we are grateful to be an active member of the community.”

Some of the supplies went to University Health Services and the University Police Department, with the remainder going to the county. Josh Glasz, UM emergency management specialist, and Drew delivered them to Quarles’ office Tuesday (March 31).

“I am very grateful for these departments and their willingness to help fulfil this request,” Drew said.

Quarles said the donations were right on time for the LOU community.

“Many of the clinics that are conducting testing and the long-term care facilities were running short or were out of PPE gowns,” he said.

“The donated items have already been distributed to NMRC, Urgent Care of Oxford, Phillips Pediatric, Internal Medicine Associates, Children’s Clinic of Oxford, Oxford Urgent Care, Family Medicine Group of Oxford, RedMed Urgent Clinic, Lafayette Pediatric Clinic and Ole Town Med Clinic. We are still reaching out to other facilities as well.”