Biorepositories provide a critical resource for gaining knowledge of emerging infectious diseases and offer a mechanism to rapidly respond to outbreaks; the emergence of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has proved their importance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the absence of centralized, national biorepository efforts meant that the onus fell on individual institutions to establish sample repositories. As a safety-net hospital, Boston Medical Center (BMC) recognized the importance of creating a COVID-19 biorepository to both support critical science at BMC and ensure representation in research for its urban patient population, most of whom are from underserved communities. This article offers a realistic overview of the authors’ experience in establishing this biorepository at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic during the height of the first surge of cases in Boston, Massachusetts, with the hope that the challenges and solutions described are useful to other institutions. Going forward, funders, policymakers, and infectious disease and public health communities must support biorepository implementation as an essential element of future pandemic preparedness.