Hometown Heroes: Bishop Brady student Angelica Whitney makes PPE for front line workers

  • When Bishop Brady High School went remote due to the COVID pandemic in March 2020, student Angelica Whitney knew she wanted to do something to help. In the two years since, she’s found new ways to contribute. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • When Bishop Brady High School went remote due to the COVID pandemic in March 2020, student Angelica Whitney knew she wanted to do something to help. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • When Bishop Brady High School went remote due to the COVID pandemic in March 2020, student Angelica Whitney knew she wanted to do something to help. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 3/6/2022 8:00:48 PM

When Bishop Brady High School went remote due to the COVID pandemic in March 2020, student Angelica Whitney knew she wanted to do something to help. Whitney, a sophomore at the time, was a member of the Bishop Brady robotics club but since extracurricular activities were canceled, she had some extra time on her hands.

Whitney, an Epsom resident, got the idea to use her robotics team skills and equipment to make and donate PPE after hearing about the nationwide “1 million PPE challenge,” initiated by a FIRST robotics team in Michigan.

“When I saw that challenge, I’m like, ‘that’s what I want to do. That’s how I can help,’” Whitney said. “Through the robotics team, I have access to 3D printers and a lot of other supplies like that, so I said, we’ll get started with some face masks that I would sew, and then also some face shields.”

As the pandemic wore on, Whitney kept sewing face masks with the help of a family friend. But she also began making other items like “ear saver” devices that fasten masks behind the head, nose clips to prevent glasses fog and no-touch door openers.

To date, Whitney has donated over 8,870 pieces of PPE to local hospitals, schools, nursing homes, fire and police departments. She says she used Google Maps to locate nearby facilities and then emailed them, asking if they needed donations.

“Some of the places I’ve built connections with, so I just go back to them saying, ‘hey, do you need anything? I haven’t heard for a month or two, just want to check,’” Whitney explained. “Concord Hospital, Catholic Medical Center, places like that I’ve made sure to reach out multiple times.”

Funding the project was a challenge at first, as the fabric and the plastic filaments for 3D printing added up quickly. So Whitney began grant writing and doing media interviews to spread awareness about the project with the hope of receiving donations. It worked. Whitney was one of three students nationwide to receive the Future of Good award from U.S. Cellular in March 2021, which came with $10,000. She also received Prudential’s Spirit of Community Award (now called Emerging Visionaries) in February 2021, which came with $2,500.

“I think what I’ve learned is that I can really make an impact on others,” Whitney said. “I know in the past a lot of my volunteering was with animals since that is my main passion. But I found that I can help people in other ways, even though I’m just a teenager.”

Over the course of the pandemic, the need for PPE has fluctuated. As PPE supply caught up with demand in recent months, Whitney’s PPE production has slowed down, but her donations haven’t. Instead, she’s switched over to buying and donating snacks like granola bars, trail mix, crackers and coffee pods for the employees at hospitals, schools and nursing homes. She still makes and donates PPE upon request.

The PPE project isn’t Whitney’s first foray into community service. For years, she’s been volunteering at Pope Memorial SPCA in Concord and at Back in the Saddle Equine Therapy Center in Hopkinton. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers her time tutoring other students in math. She’s also shadowed at Bedford Veterinary Medical Center.

After high school, Whitney plans to apply to colleges with animal science programs, with the eventual goal of attending veterinary school and becoming a veterinarian. But she plans on continuing to do community service on the side.

“I’ve just found that I really enjoy helping people, which is something that I love to do and makes me happy,” Whitney said. “So I’ve been trying to do that as much as I can.”


Eileen O

Eileen O'Grady is a Report for America corps member covering education for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. O’Grady is the former managing editor of Scope magazine at Northeastern University in Boston, where she reported on social justice issues, community activism, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a native Vermonter and worked as a reporter covering local politics for the Shelburne News and the Citizen. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The Bay State Banner, and VTDigger. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and French from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as news editor for the Mount Holyoke News from 2017-2018.



Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301
603-224-5301

 

© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy