LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) donated 3,000 N95 masks to area Baptist Health system hospitals. The masks are being sent to the Baptist Health system hospitals in Little Rock and will be used throughout their network in Central Arkansas. Additionally, masks will be sent to the Memphis based Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation that has multiple hospitals in the northeast region of Arkansas.
DR volunteers use N95 masks during flood relief efforts. Many times they are entering environments where mold and other pathogens are present. As a result, Arkansas Baptist DR purchases these masks in bulk and keeps a stock on hand for deployments. Randy Garrett, Arkansas Baptist DR director, began to find ways to get those masks to medical professionals. Garrett said, “DR stands ready to serve those in need facing devastating circumstances and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different.”
As COVID-19 continues to spread, health care workers are serving on the front line to care for those in need. Jason Little, President and CEO of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation said, “Baptist is working hard to test patients and provide much needed care across our region to those impacted. We have treated COVID-19 patients in all of our Arkansas facilities and we are providing our faith-based care as the hands and feet of Jesus to all who need us.”
The Baptist Health system in central Arkansas was beginning to run low on their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supply. With only a few days’ supply remaining, Doug Weeks, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Innovation said, “With this donation, we are up to a two-week supply and that gives us some breathing room.” He added, “These [masks] will be used by frontline caregivers, nurses, physicians, and respiratory therapists who need protection.”
Dr. J.D. “Sonny” Tucker, Executive Director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, was encouraged that these masks would serve our partners in Kingdom work. He said, “What an honor for Arkansas Baptists to return a blessing to Baptist Healthcare Systems in Arkansas! Through their multiple locations in Arkansas and world-class care, Arkansas is a better place. The assistance that both healthcare systems have provided for our pastors and staff has literally been life-altering for so many and cannot be overstated.” He added, “ I am personally grateful for the outstanding leadership of Jason Little of the Memphis system, and of Doug Weeks, President/CEO Troy Wells, and Greg Crain, Senior Vice President/Administrator of Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock. Each Baptist Health system is a top-class health care provider and continues to serve Arkansans and especially Arkansas Baptists so well.”
Additionally, for Arkansas Baptists, this serves as a great reminder of the continued mission work of the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering. Disaster Relief is a key ministry that is supported by the annual offering and made up of thousands of volunteers across the state. The donation of these masks could not have happened without the partnership of Arkansas Baptist churches.