Generous donors with good connections bolster Hawaii’s PPE stockpile

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 6:30 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s healthcare providers welcomed a massive shipment this week of surgical masks: 752,000 to be exact.

“Every one of our healthcare providers is wearing a mask non-stop throughout the day,” said Melinda Ashton, chief quality control officer at Hawaii Pacific Health.

Global demand for medical grade masks sent prices soaring. That’s if you can find them to buy at all.

But with the help of some generous donors with good connections the vital supplies will be distributed to hospitals, clinics and first responders across the state.

“These (masks) can be used for almost everything,” said Ashton.

What’s arrived is just half of a $1 million order — paid for entirely by donations through a project spearheaded by Kauai resident and Saltwater CEO Ryan Graves.

“It’s not something where you can click a button and have these products overnight,” he said.

“It does take some time to not only produce them when there’s global demand that’s overwhelming but to get them delivered. And the logistics is challenging.”

With the help of Lt. Gov. Josh Green, Graves connected donors with a reliable manufacturer in China then used his contacts to have the masks shipped to Hawaii.

“We were able to raise money from Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii Community Foundation, the Atherton Family Foundation,” said Graves. “So we could get this product to the front lines as fast as possible.”

Green added, “We were able to know that we had a source that was completely legit because we didn’t want to loose one dollar or even one penny of people’s humanitarian funds.”

Green says he’s working with the Coast Guard to get supplies to the Neighbor Islands. Both Maui and Kauai will receive a portion of the shipment later this week.

If you’d like to help with the purchase of more masks, contact Hawaii Pacific Health at

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