WEST WARWICK — As Rhode Island experiences a spike in cases of COVID-19, hundreds of West Warwick residents are well equipped to fight off infection, thanks to Thundermist Health Center and the West Warwick Health Equity Zone.
“We’re going through some tough times right now,” Gisela Gomes, Thundermist’s COVID Outreach Specialist, said as an event to distribute COVID-protection kits got underway Saturday afternoon. “We have a lot of people in the community who need the help.”
Funded through a grant, each protection kit included a mask, hand sanitizer, cleaning products, toilet paper and various other supplies.
Vehicles streamed into the parking lot of Thundermist Saturday on their way to a table filled with totes, each packed with around $40 worth of supplies. Volunteers in face masks and gloves worked quickly to hand out kits to each car as it pulled up.
Volunteers spent a couple of days compiling kits for the event — in all, 300 were handed out Saturday.
This was the first COVID-protection kit distribution event held at Thundermist of West Warwick, Gomes said, but a similar event last month at the Woonsocket location drew some 1,000 residents.
“It was a really good turnout,” she said, standing in the parking lot as cars filed past to retrieve their kits.
Gomes said she hopes at some point to be able to hold another distribution event in West Warwick, as well as one at the nonprofit health center’s Wakefield location.
Thundermist strives to help out members of the community, Gomes said, whether they’re patients there or not.
“A lot of people have lost their jobs, and a lot of people just don’t have the resources,” she said. “We want to help out the community — this is for everyone.”
In addition to providing the soaps and sanitizers and masks necessary for staving off the virus, Thundermist offers free drive-through and walk-up virus testing from its parking lot. Tests are given by appointment to anyone who needs it.