WINSTON-SALEM, NC (APRIL 22, 2020)— A day after announcing the new Mask the City initiative to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in this area, a vast network of community and faith-based organizations are beginning to distribute masks. The Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity and Love Out Loud are spearheading this effort.
The purpose of Mask the City is to provide everyone in Winston-Salem access to a mask and urge them to wear it as well as to continue social distancing for 40 days from April 22 through May 31. The masks will be widely dispersed throughout the community under the program. William M. Satterwhite, III, JD, MD, Chief Wellness Officer at Wake Forest Baptist Health, and his team designed the mask in conjunction with Renfro Corporation. Renfro is manufacturing the masks, which are called the Nightingale™ WS Protective Mask.
Approximately 60,000 masks have already been received from Renfro to date and, beginning today, have started to be distributed to community organizations. A number of businesses, foundations, other organizations and private donors paid for the 60,000 masks. Masks will be made available for disbursement at no cost to low-income individuals and other at-risk residents through a variety of community organizations and faith-based organizations. These entities are receiving masks this week and, in many cases, will begin distribution this week or early next.
Per the parameters established by The Winston-Salem Foundation through the Mask the City – Winston-Salem Fund these masks are dedicated specifically for 1) people living in Winston-Salem at or below the poverty line or 2) seniors without jobs living independently in Winston-Salem on fixed incomes. In many cases the listed organization may have "members"—but their respective distribution of masks are going to the specific audience previously listed and not their general membership.
"Mask the City is encouraging residents of Winston-Salem needing access to a mask at no cost to reach out to a community organization they have a relationship with or that serves their need—be that a church, a local agency, or a neighborhood organization," said Chuck Spong, executive director of Love Out Loud. "We have been working closely with Elder Tembila Covington with the Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity to get these masks to those in need and at risk as quickly as possible."
The following is an initial list of partner organizations receiving masks for distribution to low-income and at-risk residents (this list will likely grow in the days ahead):
The Winston-Salem Foundation has set up the Mask the City – Winston-Salem Fund that will be used to provide grants to qualified organizations (those otherwise meeting the Foundation’s guidelines and requirements) to purchase and distribute masks to residents of Winston-Salem and employees working at facilities in Winston-Salem. The primary focus will be on organizations assisting and reaching those with current incomes below the federal poverty guidelines, and a secondary focus will be healthcare workers.
Those who would like to contribute to the Mask the City – Winston-Salem Fund should go to wsfoundation.org/maskthecity on the Winston-Salem Foundation website to pay using a credit card. People may also send a check, made payable to The Winston-Salem Foundation with Mask the City – Winston-Salem Fund noted in the memo line. Checks should be mailed to The Winston-Salem Foundation, 751 West 4th Street, Suite 200, Winston-Salem, NC 27101. Each donor will receive a gift receipt/acknowledgement from the Foundation. Those who would like to request a grant from the fund should send an email to Lou.Doherty@teallcapital.com. The email should contain details about the organization, the requested number of masks, and who will be the intended recipients of masks.
Additional information about the Mask the City initiative can be found at maskthecity.com and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @maskthecity. Nightingale WS Protective Mask product information is available at nightingalesafe.com.
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Questions related to the Mask the City effort? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org