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Eighth Generation may be a small retail business, but they love taking on big challenges - especially when there's an opportunity to support front line health care workers. Last week, as the Seattle Times put it, "[they] did in eight days did what the federal government couldn’t manage since the first death from coronavirus was confirmed on Feb. 29."
Eighth Generation delivered over 10,000 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment to the Seattle Indian Health Board, a community health center that provides health and human services to its patients, while specializing in the care of Native people. The donation included 10,000 masks and 300 face shields.
This represents a significant commitment of resources, especially in this time of economic uncertainty. Eighth Generation recently closed the doors to its flagship store at Pike Place Market as part of the safety protocol mandated by Governor Jay Inslee.
“It's important that we support each other during times of crisis,” said CEO and Founder Louie Gong (Nooksack). “We are a resourceful community and always figure out ways to lift each other up.”
The project began when Louie reached out to Esther Lucero, Seattle Indian Health Board's Executive Director, through social media. Once Gong knew which kinds of equipment would be most useful, he asked Serene Lawrence (Anishinaabe/Hopi), a Senior Project Manager, to execute the plan.
"It wasn't easy," Serene said. "I stayed up from morning until midnight for several days in a row. Once we found the right equipment, we were able to leverage our relationships with overseas manufacturing partners to expedite shipping."
Incredibly, the notoriously hard to find equipment, arrived at the Eighth Generation studio just 8 days after Louie's initial idea. A small team of employees, including Stephanie Masterman, Josh Swift and Kevin Coochwytewa then delivered it to the Seattle Indian Health Board just a few hours later.
Senior Project Manager Serene Lawrence (Anishinaabe) with the mask donation.
The masks and shields will be used by Seattle Indian Health Board's direct care providers, who have just begun conducting COVID-19 testing. If there's extra equipment, the Seattle Indian Health Board will distribute it to other local health care providers.
“We are grateful to Louie and Eighth Generation for their support and dedication to our community,” said Esther Lucero, CEO of Seattle Indian Health Board. “We are looking to our community partners for support because the federal process is not providing us the resources at the speed needed for our community and to respond to this virus.”
Louie and Esther greet each other with a warm elbow bump.
Eighth Generation was purchase by the Snoqualmie Tribe in November 2019. Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman Robert de los Angeles says, “This donation exemplifies the shared values between the Tribe and Eighth Generation. It is crucial that we do what we can to support the community in whatever ways we can.”
From all of us at Eighth Generation, thank you for supporting our small company. You make it possible for us to donate to important causes like this.