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Mask Up, U.P! United Way to distribute 25,000 masks to local schools, nonprofits and businesses
Marquette, MI. — In an effort to help protect local residents from contracting COVID-19, the United Way of Marquette County is distributing 25,000 masks to the community.
“When we see a need in Marquette County, we do what we can to fill it,” said Andrew Rickauer, Executive Director of the United Way of Marquette County. “Now that all residents of the state of Michigan are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor areas, the demand for masks is high. We are happy to share 25,000 free, reusable face coverings with our neighbors to help keep the Upper Peninsula healthy.”
The United Way of Marquette County received the 25,000 masks from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through their “Project: America Strong” grant program. Rickauer applied for the donation in early June and the face coverings arrived in July. The masks are fabric and can be washed to provide multiple wears.
The United Way has already begun sharing the masks with local nonprofit organizations. To date, they have supplied masks to:
- Community Action Alger & Marquette
- Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice
- Peninsula Medical Center
- Women’s Center
- Sands Township Hall (a drop site for people to pick up free masks)
- Silver Creek Church’s thrift and backpack program
“We are especially eager to share these masks with our local schools,” Rickauer said. “As students, staff and teachers prepare to return to school in a few weeks, we know how important it is that all safety measures are taken. Offering free masks to our schools is one way the United Way can help.”
The goal of “Project: America Strong” is to slow the spread of COVID-19 by sending free masks to communities in need. Nationwide demand for these face coverings was so strong that it quickly outpaced the available supply, and HHS is no longer accepting applications for the program. For more information about “Project: America Strong” and federal masking recommendations to combat COVID-19, visit www.PHE.gov/facecovering.
Rickauer says the United Way will continue reaching out to local groups to distribute free masks until the supply runs out. If your business, nonprofit, or school could use some of these masks, please contact his office at (906) 226-8171.