A pair of Winnipeg non-profits had their public plea for face masks met within days of putting the call out through social media.
1JustCity and Main Street Project issued separate public calls for masks, or even fabric for making masks, on the weekend, saying their stockpiles were beginning to dwindle.
“We’re trying to get out ahead of it,” says Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud, executive director of 1JustCity.
“We’re not totally out of what we have, but (we’re) looking forward to reopening some of the programming that focuses more on the social and mental health aspect for our clientele; we wanted to be able to have enough masks to do that.
“We’ve asked for 3,000. That’s what we got around March or April and that’s got us through until now.”
Not long after the posts went out over Facebook, Whitecloud says she was contacted by a pair of businesses that offered to fill most of their need.
“As a company we rely on our community and having the opportunity to be able to take care of the people here in Manitoba and in Winnipeg is really important,” says Monique Lashley, director of human resources with Smartrend Manufacturing Group and First Light Safety Products.
“This was a natural fit for us to be able to help out.”
Lashley says in addition to the 5,000 masks being split between the two organizations, a second delivery of over 20,000 masks will be coming within a month.
“I cried a little when they called me,” Whitecloud laughed.
“Because I know what a mask means. A mask can meet that our guest can go to a grocery store and get what she needs for her dietary restrictions. A mask means that another guest who recently became a grandmother can meet the baby without worry that she might be giving something to the baby.”
Additionally, Whitecloud says they’re going to need approximately 30 masks a night when the temperatures dip and they open their emergency warming shelter again.
The organization is also serving about 1,500 meals a week and are giving masks to some of those community members as well.
She says they’re still accepting donations and people shouldn’t hesitate to keep the masks coming; anything over and above their goal will be distributed to other organizations.