Emily Ackerman Collects Cleaning Supplies from Closed Schools for Essential Workers

In this week's update from The Civilians' Associate Artist community, Emily Ackerman talks about discovering a treasure trove of cleaning supplies at a closed school, and donating them to essential workers.

Civilians associate artist Emily Ackerman with the some of the leftover cleaning supplies she collected from a closed school to donate to essential workers. Photo courtesy of Emily Ackerman.
Civilians associate artist Emily Ackerman with the some of the leftover cleaning supplies she collected from a closed school to donate to essential workers. Photo courtesy of Emily Ackerman.

In early April, Associate Artist Emily Ackerman (This Beautiful City, Gone Missing) visited a closed school, scavenging for leftover masks to send to healthcare workers. While she was there, she found an unexpected stock of coronavirus necessities. Emily spoke to Extended Play about her surprising discovery, and the process of finding a home for the extra supplies.

“My boyfriend is a principal at a middle school, and we went there a week or so ago to collect the PPE (masks and gloves) from his nurses office to donate to the hospitals. While we were there we noticed that there was a TON of hand sanitizer and clorox/lysol wipes—items which are very important in COVID prevention and are almost impossible to find in the stores. We went room to room zombie movie-style scavenging for these supplies and we collected a car full. We couldn’t believe how much there was, but it makes sense. Teachers always have these supplies in their classrooms, and especially as this virus ramped up before the school closings began.”

Emily's haul of scavenged cleaning supplies. Photo courtesy of Emily Ackerman.
Emily’s haul of scavenged cleaning supplies. Photo courtesy of Emily Ackerman.

“I put out on Facebook in our local neighborhood groups that we had these supplies and wanted to donate them to essential workers and those working in health care. We were inundated with requests and ended up donating bags of cleaning supplies and sanitizer to nurses, doctors, medical clinics, hospitals, a soup kitchen, a food pantry, a child services office. We also connected with PPE2NYC, a grassroots organization started by medical students in NYC. They distributed a large portion of the supplies to clinics, hospitals, and homeless outreach.”

“I am connected to Senator Robert Jackson’s office and told them what we had done. We are now working with his office and their contacts within the Dept. of Ed to collect these supplies from more schools and redistribute them to the front lines where they are most needed.”

Emily Ackerman has been a Civilians Associate Artist since 2006. With The Civilians: “This Beautiful City,” “Gone Missing,” developmental workshops of “The Great Immensity” and “Shadow of Himself,” and multiple cabarets at Joe’s Pub. Other collaborative writing/performance work includes “The Charlotte Cushman Project” with “The Laramie Project” head writer Leigh Fondakowski, and “ReEntry” and “Four Short Plays, Four Big Ideas” with KJ Sanchez. As a performer, Ms. Ackerman has performed in several theaters across the country such as Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, California Shakespeare Theater, Seattle Repertory Theater, Actor’s Theater of Louisville, and Center Theatre Group.

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