Everyone remembers how essential masks were at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. When their importance became clear, global shortages led to price gouging, fraudulent sales, and extended usage of temporary masks. 

During the initial months of the pandemic, communities all across the country responded to this need and began making masks and even gowns. Knowing the Home would soon be in need of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), staff including Sue Vander Ploeg, then Associate Director of the HCH Foundation, took charge and reached out to churches and the community in order to spearhead the donation efforts. 

Masks were the easy part. Harder, but no less important, were gowns. Making gowns can require fabric, precise measurements and cuts, and patient sewing discipline. 

COVID-19 patients cannot safely be treated without washable or disposable gowns. Sue was able to connect with over 40 members of the community to create a gown ecosystem in which one donor would send fabric and elastic, another might cut the fabric, and finally another donor would sew everything together. 

An unexpected community of support brought together by the providence of God came together at the Home’s time of need and provided the PPE needed to properly and safely treat residents. Sue, who coordinated this gown ecosystem, described its members as “such giving people” and noted “what a beautiful thing it is to be part of this community.” 

The Home is thankful for Sue’s communication and coordination work, the contributions of numerous staff members, the time and effort offered by the volunteers, as well as the countless members of the community who provided and supported the Home during this time. 

“Every donation has a story,” Sue says. Ours is a story of God’s provision in our time of need. 

Gown Contributors:

Mike Albert 

Jo-Ann Angelucci

Barbara Belanus

Katherine Bignon

Lynn Boonstra

Beverly Borduin

Karen Breur

Joyce Bruining

Jeanne Bushoven

Lois Cooper

Claudia Cortez

Estefania Deluca

Allison Douma

Faye Dyksen

Janice Englishmen

Marge Faber

The Fresh Grocer, Bob Greenway

Andrew Gladfelter

Karen Holmes

Eileen Kuipers

Janice Lonagan

Joan Mallette

Deborah Nachman Mangot

Lisa Martin

Julie and Aaron McCombs

Tami Moses

Needlecraft Inc., Sam Steen and Andy Steen


PPE Fab Crew, Rachel Chou

Amy and Allie Spalt

Karen Steiginga

Mary Ann Valenti

Bill Vander Eems

Eric Veenstra

Nora Hagedoorn Versnel

Annika Westra

Sandy Westra

Georgia Wiegers

Dot Wolfe