CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – It’s not just coronavirus test kits running low – other critical items like masks and cleaning supplies are hard to find. 

They’re everyday essentials that keep our first responders — and those they’re helping  — safe. 

Virginia Beach-based Operation Blessing is stepping in to help the Hampton Roads community. 

The nonprofit is used to helping others after natural disasters across the country and internationally.

But on Thursday, they provided relief to those in need right here at home. 

It’s a blessing in a bucket — literally, in a bucket — that couldn’t have come at a better time for first responders. 

“Many of us are working remotely right now, or being asked to, but these folks can’t,” said Hannah Slusher, operations manager for Operation Blessing. 

Like so many others, public safety departments are trying to stay ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, but with sanitation supplies and masks in high demand, it’s been challenging.

(Norfolk Police)

“We actually provided all seven cities with one thousand N95 masks, and through partnership with Home Depot, we also provided them disaster buckets,” Slusher said.

The disaster buckets had uplifting messages written on top and were filled with much-needed items like disinfecting wipes and cleaning supplies to help officers sanitize their patrol cars.

The nonprofit’s Hunger Strike Force is also giving back to the community by supplying 30,000 pounds of food to 12 food distribution centers across Hampton Roads.

”A lot of these distribution points are getting hit really hard right now because families are home, children are out of school and they’re not getting those meals that they might get if they were in school,” Slusher said. 

(Newport News Police)

It may not be the usual kind of relief efforts but the mission behind it remains the same. 

”I think mostly it’s hope. It’s giving hope to people that are feeling really afraid and really unsure and that’s just what we wanna pump out into Hampton Roads. We’re going to be ok, we’re better together and we’re going to get through this together,” Slusher said. 

If you’re interested in volunteering for Operation Blessing, click here.


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