When Milford hospital physician Katie Northrup approached her friend Kelley Petralia of Westborough Connects asking to help obtain face shields for their staff to combat PPE shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kelley contacted Elliott Rittenberg, President of the Rotary Club of Westborough. Westborough Rotary and Westborough Connects had worked together on a Rotary funded grant over the past year, and Kelley knew she could count on the club for help. Thus, began a Rotary project to source materials and build 100 face shields for donation to Milford Hospital. Elliott reached out to Victor Tom, Past President of the Bedford Rotary Club and current District Grants Subcommittee Chair for help with funding, and Victor suggested to solicit the assistance of other Rotary Clubs.

This initial request grew into a much larger effort, and a total of 1,415 face shield shields were distributed to multiple hospitals, EMS services, and other front-line health care providers. The project was supported by funding from Rotary District 7910, the Westborough Civic Club, and generous individual contributions, along with volunteer efforts from Rotarians, the Westborough Civic Club, and local residents. Zoom online sessions were used to provide training, and materials were delivered without contact in kits to volunteers’ homes for distributed production while maintaining social distancing. Through the combined efforts of the Westborough and Bedford Rotary Clubs, and assistance from the Rotary Clubs of Concord and Billerica along with local residents, 400 face shields have been delivered to Milford Hospital, 100 shields to Emerson Hospital, 200 to UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester, and other amounts to the Bedford VA Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, along with smaller clinics, fire, police and EMT services in local communities.

Here's a quote from one of the recipient organizations that demonstrates this project's impact: "Each day since this pandemic has started our staff has shown up to work ready to put their safety on the line to help others. Donations such as these go a long way in ensuring they can continue to do that and return home safe to their families. Your support has helped build morale and fulfill our mission"