Acts of kindness shine during pandemic

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By Matt Nagle

matt@tacomaweekly.com

At a time when our planet is faced with dire news almost hourly, orders to stay indoors and to keep away from each other, random acts of kindness stand out now more than ever. And they’re happening all around us, some seen and some not seen, but all equally important, as human beings try and look out for each other and share a sense of hope.

THE GIFT OF PROTECTION

At Plancich Dental in Old Town, Dr. Gregory Plancich has donated many boxes of protective surgical masks and latex gloves to St. Joseph Medical Center/CHI Franciscan and MultiCare and he is preparing to donate more, as is his son Bryce who practices at Lakes Dentistry in Lakewood.

“We’re giving whatever we have,” he said, while keeping in mind that Plancich Dental remains open for emergency patients and urgent dental needs. “We’re down to our bare minimum so that we can stay open for emergency treatments for the next three months. We’re rationing our own personal protection equipment (PPE) supplies because if we run out, we can’t see the emergency patients.”

On March 19, Gov. Inslee issued a proclamation specifically to dentistry to refrain from doing any elective, non-emergency dental procedures. Plancich is following the governor’s orders, and hopes that his office will be back up and running on May 19.

“The hospitals are inundated with sick patients and we don’t want to overwhelm emergency departments with dental infections. Under Gov. Inslee’s ‘Stay Home and Stay Healthy,’ he also stressed the importance that we do our part to relieve dental patients going to emergency departments.” 

The recent shortage of PPE for healthcare workers is being felt nationwide. Here in Western Washington, Providence has launched the 100 Million Mask Challenge, asking that those who can sew to join in making protective surgical masks for area hospital staff.

“My wife is an expert sewer, so we’re going to start making masks per the Challenge,” Plancich said. “The whole dental community has been donating PPE. The Pierce County Dental Society has been sending out emails to all their members to help facilitate our donations, with where the need is and links to contact.” 

THE GIFT OF FOOD

When Gov. Inslee announced the closure of Tacoma schools, Kwabi Amoah-Forson went into action to give kids and families a ray of love amid the pandemic. 

Perhaps best known around town as The Peace Bus guy, since 2017 Amoah-Forson has been promoting peace among people from his signature light blue van. “Solidarity is found within the ability to practice understanding and compassion,” he says, and he lives his words. 

Kwabi Amoah-Forson and his Peace Bus are making sure that children don’t go without breakfast. Credit: thepeacebus.org

Amoah-Forson has now embarked on a new campaign – The Peace Bus Breakfast Fund. Now and for the next six weeks between 6:30-10 a.m., he is distributing new boxes of cereal to families who may not be able to supply breakfast at this time due to the COVID-19 outbreak and school closures. He has the cereals that kids love best – from Frosted Flakes to Fruity Pebbles – and cereals for grown-ups too. All that it takes is to send Amoah-Forson a text message at (253) 204-7227 and he will meet you at a convenient time and location. 

To help him with his generous outreach, he needs donations to buy boxes of cereal. Visit www.ThePeaceBus.org, scroll to the bottom and click “Donate.” 

Having started his cereal campaign on March 23, he had already served about 40 families as of March 25. “It’s been fantastic,” he said. “There is a big need for it. Without something like this, some kids wouldn’t get breakfast.”

Amoah-Forson and his friends are also ready to premiere “The Peace Bus TV Show” pilot that aims to educate children on the subjects of homelessness, poverty, incarceration, and how they can help with the environment. It will be a free event at the Blue Mouse Theater once people can all come together again. Search and like “Kwabi & The Peace Bus Campaign” on Facebook to learn more. 

THE GIFT OF PEACE OF MIND

This past weekend, the Tacoma Weekly received an email about how the University of Puget Sound and The UPS Store in Proctor District went above and beyond to help put a worried mother’s mind to rest.

Andre Bussiere, a freshman, had traveled home to the San Francisco Bay area to his parents’ place for spring break, taking only what he could fit into a small carry-on. Unable to return to the university given the risks of the coronavirus, his mom, Desiree Bussiere, reached out to the university’s Alumni and Parent Relations department. Within two hours, Desiree received a call back from Alumni and Parent Relations Event Assistant Gracie Sherman who informed her that the university was working with the Proctor UPS Store. A UPS Store staff member went to Andre’s dorm room, packed up his personal belongings, including his asthma medicine, and everything was shipped out in less than 24 hours. 

“There was always somebody who reached out by phone and didn’t just send an email,” Desiree said of the university and UPS Store. “It all went so smoothly. I was surprised that something like that would be set up because I’d think the university had bigger fish to fry, but they were fantastic. We are so grateful for this service and how quickly it all happened.”

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