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Task Force Launches CoverAid PHL Initiative to Combat Shortage of COVID-19 Supplies

for Healthcare Professionals


PHILADELPHIA, PA (March 2020) -  CoverAid PHL is a coalition of representatives from hospitals, universities, manufacturers, government, and small businesses E941ca90-41a6-478d-a2de-26b2e680b767collaborating on solutions for personal protective equipment (PPE) needs for healthcare professionals.  Coming together to form this initiative started as a swift response to protecting our healthcare workers during the overwhelming threat (and lack of supplies) from the Coronavirus Pandemic. This project has also become a positive and productive way to cope and empower its organizers during uncertain times. 

CoverAid PHL started with a few quick phone calls that turned into collaborative action. When Mel Baiada (Board Member, BAYADA Home Health Care) reached out to Kendra Brill (DeSimone Group Investments, CHAR-COAL Apparel), his goal was to fill in some local manufacturing contacts for an initiative he had already put to paper and to make protective masks for local healthcare workers. A phone call ensued, and so did a conversation about another informal outreach from a regional hospital system, as well as a key conversation with John Venafro, a local expert in Philadelphia manufacturing. John specializes in military/police/fire protective equipment manufactured right here in Philadelphia, so John was on board.  Realizing the need to consider other innovations and community leaders, Kendra contacted Evan Malone, Founder of NextFab, and Evan contacted Tony Sacksteder, Product Development Consultant, and the first formal call occurred within 24 hours of Mel’s first outreach on Friday, March 20, 2020. As all good organizations who are trying to help a region, the group needed to connect to the city and to avoid replicating good efforts in play. Through his contacts with the city, Evan Malone and the team became aware of an initiative with Elissa Bloom, the Director of the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator. Elissa was tasked by the city to corral local sewers, designers, and factories to assist with creating masks for healthcare workers. Elissa was pulled in, and CoverAid PHL was formed.

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through our nation, the supplies to keep our city’s healthcare professionals safe are dwindling. CoverAid PHL is searching for a solution to this problem by opening channels of communication and creating a joint effort between hospitals, universities, manufacturers, government, small businesses, and volunteers in hopes to keep as many healthcare workers safe as possible. Currently, the CoverAid PHL Fabric Mask v1.0 is the group’s first project in an attempt to quickly implement a solution that will help protect healthcare workers, patients, and our community. All the masks will be washed and sanitized by the facilitates receiving donations before use.

In addition to the masks, CoverAid PHL community members are working on respirators, PPE and ventilators, and expect to announce progress on these in the near future. With the mentality that we are all in this together, CoverAid PHL is inviting anyone working on these problems to connect and collaborate to keep as many people healthy as possible.  

For more information go to There will also be updates posted NextFab’s Twitter @NextFab_PHL, Instagram @NextFab_PHL, and, and follow along using the hashtag #CoverAidPHL.

About NextFab

Founded by Dr. Evan Malone in 2009, NextFab provides professional services and is dedicated to supporting small-scale local manufacturing. The network consists of membership-based makerspaces that allow local community members services to fabricate their needs. NextFab owns and operates three locations in the mid-Atlantic Region that provide access to tools, technology, education, events, and services for makers.