The PPE Unite program teamed up with a number of county and local officials Saturday to bring free personal protective equipment to small businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The event led by the coalition of groups — that also included the Los Angeles Small Business Development Center Network, the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office — saw the distribution of more than 12 pallets of PPE equipment given to those who participated in the drive-thru event.
“This is all about supporting their workers and giving them something that can safely reopen and keep going with their business,” said Tova Mac, one of the co-founders of PPE Unite. “We are giving away face masks, face shields and hand sanitizers for these businesses.”
In order to sign up for the event, those receiving the PPE had to be a part of a small business or nonprofit that has fewer than 100 employees. At the Saturday event, held in the Westfield Valencia Town Center parking lot, more than 400 people registered to receive equipment.
“What we’ve seen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic on the economic devastation, is that businesses are very frustrated, it can be very hard to access resources,” said Mac. “But at the end of the day, in order to open, recover, hire, and keep moving forward with their business … they need to be safe. And so we’re supporting them.”
Mac said that 40% of the small businesses in L.A. County have had to close since the onset of the pandemic, and by providing PPE to those that have remained open, or plan to reopen, is a burden PPE Unite hopes to take away.
The amount of supplies given to those on Saturday, which is a portion of the 10 million masks being distributed for free across L.A. County, was relative to the number of employees at each small business or charity, according to Catherine Grooms, director of the College of the Canyons SBDC.
“This is an absolutely great benefit (to local businesses) with all of the restrictions that have gone in place,” said Grooms, when discussing the importance of handing out free PPE equipment to businesses. “They (the businesses) want to make sure that they’re in compliance with all the restrictions, so that employees are kept safe, business owners are kept safe, and it adds up — it’s an additional cost of doing business.
“So that’s why PPE Unite and the supporting organizations … (wanted) to make sure that we were part of the effort to get PPE, a 30-day free supply, to business owners, because that is a part of them doing business,” she said.
In addition to their work with PPE United, LA SBDC officials have made themselves available seven days a week during regular business hours, evenings and weekends to help and work with businesses trying to survive COVID-19, Grooms said. They assist, she added, with everything from cash flow management, to marketing strategy, to a litany of other types of business strategies and advice.
“We’re very happy to be a part of this overall effort, and it’s been happening throughout L.A. County for several months,” she said.
For more information or to register your business to receive free PPE materials, visit us at www.PPEUnite.org.