NY Mask Avengers - Newburgh
Covid Avengers are a mutual aid / volunteer group; we are not a non-profit so it is difficult for us to fundraise or receive grants.
I founded the group in March 12. Since then, we have distributed 34,000 handmade or fabric masks. Almost 12,000 of these went to Newburgh.
We have volunteers who sew, run drop boxes, and run them to our partnering organizations who get them out into the community. This is critically important - these organizations have already built relationships and have trust in the community; our group is new and it is also more time-efficient for us to focus on making, and allowing others to let us know where the masks are needed.
Early in the pandemic, we made for nursing homes, group homes, etc. That need quickly shifted to at-risk populations in our own communities, particularly essential workers who cannot always afford masks.
As we reach what we hope to be the last needs of the pandemic, I have two goals for this group. One is the immediate need - distributing at least 8,000 more fabric masks to keep our community safer. At the same time, my I want to continue and build partnerships with organizations in Newburgh.
In this process, we built a network of 1,200 Facebook group. According to analytics, 300-400 of them remain regularly active, and over 100 contribute time and labor toward this effort. I want to listen to local organizations who have been doing this work for generations, and hear more about what might be most needed. Then, I can consider in what ways the demographics and logistics of our group can adapt after mask-making. It’s an amazing network, and with the right focus and thoughtfulness, it could still do a great deal of good in our community.
Funded by Newburgh, NY (January 2021)