WalMart 1
Walmart donated iPads to Harris Health System so health workers could communicate with patients and patients in isolation could communicate with their families.

Businesses and individuals answer Harris Health System’s call for donations

Public health system's appeal during the COVID-19 crisis yields iPads, PPEs, hot meals and even Girl Scout cookies

Businesses and individuals answer Harris Health System’s call for donations

2 Minute Read

Jennifer Buck is busy.

As community involvement manager for Harris Health System, Buck coordinates in-kind donations sent to Ben Taub Hospital and LBJ Hospital, and to the clinics, community health centers and other locations that make up the rest of the county’s safety-net health care system.

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In a non-pandemic world, that means arranging drop-offs for baby blankets, booties and other items donated to patients and staff members. The COVID-19 crisis has shifted priorities.

“We’ve put a halt to our normal in-kind donations,” Buck said. “We’re just focusing on personal protective equipment (PPE) and we also put out an ask out for webcams and iPads.”

Project C.U.R.E., which delivers medical supplies to hospitals and clinics in need around the world, as well as the Houston Chinese Volunteers group provided a gift of much-needed PPE, Buck said. The donation included face shields, gowns and gloves—all necessary when treating patients with COVID-19.

Project C.U.R.E. donated personal protective equipment to Harris Health System.

The iPads are important for obvious and not-so-obvious reasons.

“We’re needing iPads so nursing staff can communicate with patients in the rooms for non-medical reasons,” Buck explained. “Every time you go into a patient room, you have to put on PPE. And then when you leave, you have to throw it away.”

The iPad helps preserve personal protective equipment for when it’s most necessary and also lets patients communicate with family members, since most are not allowed to have any visitors, Buck said.

CompuCycle and Walmart donated a total of 118 iPads to Harris Health, while Joe V’s Smart Shop and Mi Tienda—part of the H-E-B family of stores—gifted $100,000 to help meet patients’ expanding needs during this global health crisis.

Then there are the meals that individuals and companies have been sending to Harris Health workers on the front lines—and the food just keeps coming.

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson donated 400 meals from Sticky’s Chicken to 400 grateful employees at Ben Taub Hospital last week.

BP America also reached out and wanted to donate food. Amid all the stress of their own business, they wanted to give and to participate in assisting in this effort,” Buck said. “They are sending out hundreds of meals to LBJ and Ben Taub to make sure our health workers get a virtual hug.”

In addition, Dish Society, Russell Reynolds Associates, Freepoint Commodities and Dr. and Mrs. Harinder (Rani) Juneja have all given hundreds of meals to our staff, she said.

Even the Girl Scouts stepped up by donating cookies to employees at Sareen Clinic and the Quentin Mease outpatient facility—a proud moment captured on Twitter.


“Unlike floods or hurricanes that have affected our whole city or portions of our city, COVID-19 is affecting everyone, everywhere,” Buck said. “I am constantly amazed and overwhelmed by the generosity of the Houston community who have offered support to our Harris Health family, despite the fact that many of them are facing personal or professional stresses and hardships. That kind of selfless giving is humbling. Every gift counts. A hot cup of coffee and a meal, PPE for our staff or a monetary donation—it all counts. Every. Gift. Counts. And we are forever grateful.”

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