Living center gives away over 22,000 masks to those in need

Local News

MARSHALL, MN (KELO) – Jennifer Cox has always had a passion for helping those in need. That’s why she works for the Southwest Center for Independent Living.

“We offer to help people with disabilities have the same lifestyle and opportunities as people that aren’t disabled,” Community Projects Coordinator Jennifer Cox said.

Courtesy: Southwestern Center for Independent Living website

The center applied for FEMA’s Project America Strong Grant. They asked for thousands of cloth masks so they could provide them to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We asked for a pallet of masks and we didn’t think we’d get nearly that many, but we got them all. One morning they just showed up: we had 22,500 masks show up in our office,” Cox said.

A fresh shipment. Courtesy: Jennifer Cox

Through the help of local providers, like the United Community Action Partnership they’ve given out 21,475 masks to individuals.

“When the pandemic first hit, it was very hard to get a lot of that personal protection equipment for our staff and also for the families that we serve because UCAMP is all about serving families who are very low income, living in poverty,” Brandt said.

Helping those in need. Courtesy: Debi Brandt

Cox mentions that the cloth masks are reusable and make a good replacement for paper masks that sometimes cause skin irritation.

“They come medically sealed, so we don’t have to worry about if we’re being safe with them before we’re sending them out to families,” Cox said.

She goes on to say that the amount of PPE and cleaning supplies being purchased can put people on a fixed budget. So to take some of that burden off them is priceless.

“We want people to live as safely as possible, be able to interact as safely as possible,” Cox said.

On Monday, they received more 10,000 masks from FEMA.

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