Conquer COVID-19 Wraps Up Operations After Getting More Than 3 Million Items of PPE into the Hands of Frontline Workers
TORONTO – September 2, 2020 – Conquer COVID-19 today announced that it has wrapped up its operations after almost five months of working tirelessly to get more than 3 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) into the hands of frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable communities amid the pandemic. These items were distributed to over 410 sites (with some receiving multiple deliveries) – ranging from hospitals, community clinics, long term care facilities, home care facilities, doctor’s offices, homes for people with special needs, homeless shelters, Indigenous health centres, community organizations, and more – in 184 towns/cities across eight provinces and one territory (BC, AB, SK, ON, QC, NB, NS, NL, NWT).
Through donor drop-offs and several PPE collection drives held in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, Richmond, and Victoria, Conquer COVID-19 collected more than 773,000 items. Donations were made by individuals, businesses, and corporations such as Best Buy, Canadian Tire, Coinsquare, GFL Environmental, Huawei, Klick Health, Spin Master, TADA, DR. HO’s Health and Wellness, Toys ‘R’ Us, and VTech. Items donated included surgical masks, respirators, face shields, procedural gloves, gowns, baby monitors, tablets; along with items needed by shelters, including diapers, formula, and feminine hygiene products.
The storage and delivery of PPE was made possible thanks to the support and generosity of two strategic and foundational partners: XYZ Storage and Volvo Cars Canada. In addition to providing a location to host PPE collection drives, XYZ Storage provided essential storage facilities for all items collected or procured, with up to 13 lockers filled to capacity with PPE at critical points in the organization’s existence. With 18 vehicles supplied by Volvo Cars Canada, volunteer drivers covered 47,249 kilometers to make deliveries throughout Ontario and Quebec.
Raising Millions of Dollars to Procure PPE
Conquer COVID-19 raised over $2.38M through donations made on behalf of the organization to the IDRF by the Thistledown Foundation, the Northpine Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Home Trust, individual donors, and other smaller organizations and grassroots initiatives. Funds raised include over $321,000 in proceeds from the sale of the “world’s most boring t-shirt” and baseball caps with the support of Entripy and Silver Crystal Group.
In alignment with requests received from facilities across the country, using funds raised and in partnership with IDRF, Conquer COVID-19 procured over 2.36M surgical masks as well as 23,374 litres of hand sanitizer that was distributed in a variety of formats (i.e., spray, lotion, gel, etc.) and container sizes.
Distributing PPE Across Canada
A total of 464 deliveries were made by Conquer COVID-19 to get PPE into the hands of those in need across Canada. 265 of these deliveries were made using Volvo vehicles. Another 120 deliveries were made possible through a partnership with Canadian courier company Purolator, which generously donated shipping credits for the delivery of PPE. The remainder of deliveries were managed independently through volunteer team members.
Organizations such as Montreal Impact Foundation, VIO (which enabled Conquer COVID-19 to reach indigenous communities), the Ontario Medical Association, SafeCare BC, Helping Alberta, United Way East Ontario, the Ontario Dental Association, Transform, Seeds of Hope, Second Harvest, United Way Greater Toronto, Homes First Toronto, and The Salvation Army were among the centralized organizations that received large quantities of procured PPE from Conquer COVID-19 for redistribution to local communities, organizations, and individuals in need. In Ottawa, St. John Ambulance provided storage and support at PPE drives for the Conquer COVID-19 team focused on that region. With the generous support of Bombardier, PPE was also flown from Downsview to Halifax, Nova Scotia for deployment by Ummah Masjid and Community Centre to frontline workers in memory of Kristen Beaton and Heather O’Brien.
Conquer COVID-19 Releases an Open Source Digital Playbook
In the five months following its formation, Conquer COVID-19 became one of the largest, more diverse grassroots COVID-19 responses in Canada. Despite the operational challenges of starting in the middle of a pandemic with global PPE shortages and an entirely unpaid workforce, Conquer COVID-19 established a new model of citizen response. To help others replicate its success, Conquer COVID-19 captured the steps taken to successfully respond to the crisis through an open source, digital Conquer COVID-19 Playbook. This playbook can serve as an operational manual to assist those in communities preparing for a second wave of COVID-19 in establishing a citizen-level response. The learnings could also apply to other humanitarian efforts or natural disasters.
Volunteers and Community Partners Drive Conquer COVID-19 Efforts
“What started with six friends in a WhatsApp group grew to a team of over 100 volunteers across the country who poured their hearts and souls into helping their fellow Canadians – with many working 18-hour days for several weeks. It was truly remarkable to see students volunteering while going to school; businesses and individuals donating PPE and money; and corporate partners providing services in kind. We’re also grateful to everyone who purchased our boring t-shirt and wore it with excitement and pride,” said Sulemaan Ahmed, CEO and co-founder of Conquer COVID-19. “It’s humbling to be part of something where a group of individuals – including many who didn’t know one another before joining our team – worked together to help those serving on our front lines.”
Conquer COVID-19 gratefully acknowledges the tremendous support it received from Canadian hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser and actor Ryan Reynolds. Both were instrumental in raising awareness of Conquer COVID-19 and its efforts to get PPE to those in urgent need.
In addition to corporate partners mentioned above, Conquer COVID-19 recognizes the assistance it received from the following companies that provided support or services in kind: BFL Canada, Cloudflare, BOXX Insurance, Hubspot, Kinsta, Outfront, Paramount Foods, Slack, Toronto Zoo, and Torys.
About Conquer COVID-19
Conquer COVID-19 is a grassroots volunteer organization that came together on March 19, 2020 to facilitate access to personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, and other priority products and supplies that are essential for frontline healthcare workers and primary care providers in treating patients and minimizing the spread of the virus. The organization, which began as an idea among six friends, grew into a multidisciplinary team with 120 volunteers at its peak. Volunteers included frontline healthcare workers, engineers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, medical students, sports talent, and NGO members that all came together to tackle pressing issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. For additional information, visit Conquer COVID-19 online, or on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.