There are 7 ARC chapters in the Midstate. Each one is struggling to find personal protection equipment to keep the individuals they serve protected from COVID-19.
Holly Turner works for the ARC of Cumberland and Perry Counties. Turner’s son, AJ, received services from the non-profit.
“My older son has a disability and he lives in a group home,” Turner said.
Those who care for AJ are called Direct Support Professions also known as DSPs. They serve individuals 24/7.
“They do everything for him, arranging social activities, facilitate friendships facilitate him going to church, make sure he is well-fed, they cook with him,” she said.
Turner says for AJ’s team, social distancing during COVID-19 is not possible.
“Especially for DSP because not everyone recognizes how essential they are and that they are working very closely with individuals, sometimes providing medical care personal care. They are helping people with hygiene and it’s very close contact and they are not having the protection,” she said.
“Congress did not include us the equipment in the allocations for the equipment for the personal protection equipment,” says Sherri Landis, Executive Director for ARC of Pennsylvania.
Landis says around 57,000 people are being served, many live in private and group homes in Midstate communities.
“And not to be included with Personal Protection equipment. We are always asking for increased funding for home and community based services,” Turner said.
While some ARC’s are receiving personal protection equipment donations, others continue to search for masks and gloves.
“I will say this from an advocate side as well as the mother, we are never included people forget about intellectual disabilities services and they just don’t think of our DSP’s as essential which they really are.” Turner said.
“We applaud you across the state. It is hard work but you are doing a fabulous job and you are showing up and we so appreciate all your work,” Landis said.
If you would like to help the ARC’s across Pennsylvania and here in the Midstate, click here.