By Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
After learning that Catholic Charities urgently needed supplies of hand sanitizer, liquid soap, disinfectant wipes, face masks and other items to ensure the safety of its frontline workers responding to the pandemic, Father Greg Kimm, pastor at St. Joseph of Cupertino Parish, sent out a request to his parishioners. Within hours, Alex Kwandou, a parishioner and a Bellarmine High School Junior, contacted Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County with an offer of help.
The Kwandou family – Alex; his mom, Dewi; and sister, Jessica who is a seventh-grader at St. Joseph School – have been answering the call to help where they can during the pandemic. Their efforts began after Alex saw a Facebook post about making plastic face shields, and began experimenting to develop a prototype. Through trial and error, and with no real instructions, he made an easy-to-replicate, low-cost face shield with materials he purchased online, and at hardware and discount stores. Meanwhile, Jessica and Dewi have been sewing cloth face masks. The trio is choosing to donate their products to community organizations serving the homeless and senior citizens, and individuals caring for an elderly family member.
Thanks to the family’s donation of hand sanitizer, gloves, face shields and face masks, Catholic Charities employees will remain as safe as possible as they deliver food to seniors who are too vulnerable to venture out to food distribution sites, and serve homeless individuals with referral to resources, mail distribution and sandwiches at The Window in downtown San Jose.
Catholic Charities is tremendously grateful to the Kwandou family and the many others who are answering the call to help our community during this pandemic.
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County is the designated Disaster Response Agency of the Catholic Diocese of San Jose. For more information, visit catholiccharitiesscc.org/covid19-information or call Catholic Charities, (408) 468-0100. Our staff is available to answer questions and give information Mondays – Fridays, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.