Jon Schaefer had already shut down his ski resorts prematurely due to the coronavirus last month when he received a plea for help.

Schaefer received a forwarded email from Mike Halperin, a New York City emergency room doctor, who was searching for ski goggles — maybe in the lost and found bins, or surplus stock — because the medical staff at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx was running low on protective gear.

"I was stuck in the house trying to think of ways I could help," said Schaefer, who owns Catamount Mountain Resort in Hillsdale, N.Y., and Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont.

So, he took the opportunity to create a spreadsheet and invited other medical facilities to request goggles. From that effort, Goggles for Docs was born.

And over the span of about 10 days, a network of ski area employees, skiers and their friends have managed to donate and ship about 18,000 pairs of goggles to hospitals across the Northeast to protect frontline doctors and nurses treating patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Schaefer, whose wife is a physician assistant at Berkshire Medical Center, said the goggles are especially important for those treating the most serious cases of COVID-19. When caregivers have to insert a tube into patients' lungs to help them breathe, the proximity to the patient's nose and mouth makes them particularly vulnerable to infection through their eyes.

"These goggles are tight-fitting, so, they're really good at protecting our people on the front lines," he said.

Schaefer, 49, of Hawley, made his initial outreach March 28; by the next day, the response was so great that he knew he had to expand the effort.

So, he enlisted the help of some friends, like Trevor Crist and Gregg Blanchard of the Vermont-based travel and booking company Inntopia, and Victor Waryas, an avid mountain sports enthusiast who works in the music industry.

Others hopped in quickly, too, like Berkshire East marketer Gabe Porter-Henry, Adam Gardner from the environmental nonprofit group Reverb, and music and event veteran Poli Nightingale.

Within a few hours, the team had built out a website and scalable template to allow for independent reporting of requests and fulfillment. Medical centers can make requests for how many pairs of goggles they need. And donors can enter into the template how many were packaged and where they were shipped.

The response from the ski community was enormous.

By March 31, 4,000 goggles had been shipped to health care centers around the country. By April 4, that number had grown to 12,000 donated goggles, or about 90 percent of the requests up to that point. By Tuesday, 18,000 had been shipped. And there are dozens of new requests being vetted daily by volunteers.

Schaefer said there are 200 medical centers entered on the website, and so far, about two-thirds of their needs have been met.

The website makes it pretty easy.

A potential donor can select a specific state to view requests from participating hospitals. The website details how to prepare goggles for shipment, and where to ship — whether either directly to a hospital or to regional drop-off locations that have been set up by volunteers across the country.

Through the nonprofit venture, health care workers are forming an emotional bond with the members of the ski community working on this effort — even at a time of social distancing.

"They are very thankful for the help, and we are very thankful for their work," Schaefer said. "So, it's emotional for both groups. It's an unanticipated side effect, making connections with people when you're not supposed to."