Irish businesswoman Kate Verling is donating 1,500 face masks to the National Maternity Hospital because she felt a moral obligation to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Verling, who is nine months pregnant with her first child, owns Mink nail salon with her parents Jim and Orla Verling. With premises in Donnybrook and Ballsbridge, Ms Verling said they were left with a surplus of stock and learned the staff at Holles Street were in need of equipment and so the timing was serendipitous.
Fianna Fáil’s health spokesman Stephen Donnelly said the average spend on personal protective equipment in hospitals will increase from €15million to €240 million and frontline workers are in serious need of he necessary tools to tackle the global health crisis.
On March 16, Ms Verling made the decision to close the doors to her business. She employs over 60 staff.
"We totally overstocked on masks and we felt a bit guilty because we had so many at the salon and realistically we will be closed for the foreseeable future," she told the Irish Independent.
"The surplus was there and we learned that Holles Street was short. We happened to be in the right place at the right time."
Ms Verling said she was especially keen to help staff at the National Maternity Hospital because of her own experience with Hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme morning sickness), crediting the midwives and nurses for their compassion throughout her pregnancy.
"Everyone in there is nicer than the next and my husband and I have been thinking about ways we could help beyond fundraising," she explained. "It was a lovely twist of fate to be able to help in this way."
Dr Vanessa Creaven has volunteered her dental services to administer coronavirus testing
The salons cater to an average of 800 clients per week and staff are also helping elderly customers who are self-isolating by dropping off 'DIY nail kits' on their doorsteps to facilitate nail care to vulnerable people.
The Irish Spa Association has also launched an online appeal for donations of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Similarly, Spotlight Oral Care, run by dentist sisters Dr Lisa and Vanessa Creavan, have been ensuring nightly drop-ins of oral hygiene packs like bamboo toothbrushes and toothpastes to medical workers who are working double shifts and therefore unable to stock up on any personal essentials.
"For the healthcare professionals, we're doing a couple hundreds drop-offs to hospitals around Ireland. A lot of nurses and doctors got in touch with us over social media to say they need practical things and are working such long hours they don't have time to brush their teeth."
They are also working with their suppliers from around the world about importing any masks and gloves. As dentists, both Creavan sisters have volunteered to administer coronavirus testing, which is administered through the nose and mouth.
Irish designer Eamonn McGill said he has also been in touch with health service executives about making scrubs.
On a wider scale, H&M Group will be supplying protective equipment for hospitals using their expansive factories and established supply chains.