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Medical Students Launch Drive To Collect Personal Protective Equipment For Health Care Workers On COVID-19 Front Lines

CHICAGO (CBS) -- They're not ready to work on the front lines just yet, but some medical students from Northwestern University are not letting that stop them from joining in the push to help protect our doctors and nurses.

First-year medical student Tricia Rae Pendergrast talked with CBS 2's Irika Sargent about her efforts on Monday. She and other medical students from five different schools around the city are collecting personal protective equipment, or PPE – masks, gowns, and gloves.

"We will go around and collect them and deliver them straight into the hands of nurses and doctors who are working on the front lines," she said.

Gov. JB Prtizker has emphasized that there is a lack of such supplies. But they are available in places one might not expect, Pendergrast said.

"In unsuspecting places. People who are watching might have these, you know, in their basement lying around. We're getting a lot of donations from retired construction workers, veterinary technicians, anyone who does any work with aerosolized particles – so contractors; people who do sandblasting," she said.

The donors can contact the group via email, and volunteers pick up the items from the donors' front porch. The email address is

"You can just email us, introduce yourself, let us know a little bit about where you're located, and we will let you know when we're on our way to pick up the supplies. No human contact is necessary. You'll just leave it on your front porch. We'll wave from a safe distance away, and we can confirm with you when those donated supplies are in the hands of the health care workers that need them most," Pendergrast said.

Pendergrast's group is also helping others in need – including those experiencing homelessness and struggling with substance abuse disorders. The group is also working with local organizations to set up donations for things such as food, and to donate it where it is most needed.

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