TORONTO -- Like so many Canadians, Genevieve Zimanyi had to adjust her upcoming travel plans in the wake of COVID-19.

“In June, we had a team that was going to Uganda,” the Executive Director of Bridge to Health, an organization that does dental and medical outreach in East Africa, told CTV News Toronto.

“We were starting a mission in a low resource area, but given the current pandemic we’ve had to postpone until it’s safe to travel again.”

In the wake of that postponement, and after hearing about shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), the organization decided to do something about it. 

“We had masks and gloves that were slated for Uganda, so we immediately saw the need for PPE,” Zimanyi said. “We went to our storage facility, went through everything that was worthwhile being donated, and we started donating.”

This week, the organization donated more than 12,000 masks and 10,000 pairs of gloves to organizations around the Greater Toronto Area.

“We’ve donated to St. Mike’s, Mount Sinai, North York General and a few other smaller organizations,” Zimayni said. “Some of these small organizations aren’t getting very many supplies and they need to keep running.”

The donations were made by mail delivery and drop-offs done from a distance. Zimanyi enlisted the help of her sons to get the supplies out to local caregivers. 

“We went to the post office to deliver the masks to London, Ont. and we went to Children’s Aid to drop off some masks,” 11-year-old James Nixon said, adding that he enjoyed the experience. “Makes me feel like I’m doing something good to help other people.”

On their last trip, which was to Kenya, a team of 30 doctors, dentists and hygienists saw more than 2,000 patients. 


“Our teams actually go to local schools and they do fluoride treatments for all the children. And when we do that, with each child we have to use a new set of gloves. Our hygienists have masks on,” Zimanyi expains. “We teach and train about oral hygiene, health hygiene, washing your hands. So that’s what our supplies are used for on the ground.”

Zimanyi said the decision to donate their supplies was an easy one, given the current need in Canada. 

“It’s an opportunity for us to give back to the community. The need is so great for PPE,” she said. “And it’s really important for everybody to do their part in providing what they can and what they can do. Every little bit helps.”