Eighth Generation, a small business based at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, donated 4,000 N95 respirator masks, 6,000 surgical masks, and 300 face shields to Seattle Indian Health Board amid a world-wide shortage.
The Native-owned company was able to expedite the process to acquire supplies by leveraging its relationships with overseas manufacturers to quickly locate and ship the masks.
Louie Gong, Founder and CEO of Eighth Generation, contacted Seattle Indian Health Board CEO, Esther Lucero, through Facebook, where they exchanged messages to work out the details.
“It is important we support each other during times of crisis,” said Gong. “We are a resourceful community and always figure out ways to lift each other up.”
Seattle Indian Health Board expects to receive the supplies over the weekend, less than two weeks from the first Facebook message between Gong and Lucero.
Over two months, Seattle Indian Health Board has been working with federal agencies and Congress to access more supplies and resources, but has yet to receive any due to the lack of mechanisms in place.
“We are grateful to Louie and Eighth Generation for their support and dedication to our community,” said Esther Lucero, CEO of Seattle Indian Health Board. “We are looking to our community partners for support because the federal process is not providing us the resources at the speed needed for our community and to respond to this virus.”
Seattle Indian Health Board recently needed to redirect personal protective equipment (PPE) from its dental supply after scaling down dental services in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The organization is still providing emergency dental care, while most of the dental staff take on various roles to support the clinic in its COVID-19 response.
Eighth Generation made the donation to Seattle Indian Health Board amid facing its own concerns. They temporarily closed their flagship store at Pike Place Market after Governor Inslee’s stay-at-home order went into effect.
The company, which specializes in products designed by Native artists, is still taking orders online at https://eighthgeneration.com/.
Gong says the company loves taking on big challenges in business and beyond. “We lead with our values. This donation is just our traditional response to a contemporary need. It’s what we do.”
The Snoqualmie Tribe purchased Eighth Generation from Gong in November 2019.
“This donation exemplifies the shared values between the Tribe and Eighth Generation,” said Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman Robert de los Angeles. “It is crucial that we do what we can to support the community in whatever ways we can.”