Port Community Chests nears 2,000 masks made

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The Port Washington Community Chest's Mask Brigade has created nearly 2,000 masks for needy families. (Photo by Betsy Liegey)

Fifty-two volunteers in Port Washington have created nearly 2,000 fabric masks for local at-risk families through the Mask Brigade effort, a project of the Port Washington Community Chest’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

Under the coordination of volunteer Betsy Liegey, and with the help of cutters and seamstresses, the Port Washington Mask Brigade created washable three-layer face masks using donations of fabric, elastic and more from the Port community. Spectrum Suds, a program of the Spectrum Designs Foundation, then washed and steamed the masks.

“The Mask Brigade did an amazing job, creating masks for our outreach families here in Port Washington,” Liegey said. “They opened up their hearts to neighbors in need and gave their time, a lot of it, to make fabric face masks that were distributed through the Community Chest COVID-19 Community Response humanitarian effort. It just shows what an incredible community we have here in Port.”

The masks were donated to outreach families at Our Lady of Fatima, EOC/Port Washington Community Action Council, Port Washington Parent Resource Center, Littig House Community Center and St. Peter of Alcantara’s Social Ministry. Lourdes Taglialatela, director of the Parish Social Ministry at St. Peter of Alcantara Roman Catholic Church, said the donations had been “a godsend.”

“We have been able to supply our 105-plus families totaling over 330 people with three or more masks each,” Taglialatela said.  “Adults and children alike love them for their colorful patterns. They are very well-made, and even more meaningful because they were made with love and concern for one’s neighbor.”

“Disposable paper face masks are expensive and not readily available and families in low-income areas are more at-risk for catching COVID-19,” Liegey said in a statement.  “A brigade is a military term that refers to a group of individuals working together for a particular purpose. The Port Mask Brigade rose to this challenge and through its efforts, is helping fight off COVID-19 in Port Washington.”

The Mask Brigade has been coordinated by the Community Chest and the Port Washington COVID-19 Community Response working group.

The most vital project of the relief effort is the PW COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which is being used to make COVID-19 emergency grants for food needs, housing costs and other expenses to community and faith-based organizations that have strong experience supporting local families.

Donations for the PW COVID-19 Community Response Fund are being collected through the Community Chest website and a GoFundMe campaign, located at https://bit.ly/2WUAKQG. One hundred percent of donations are going to organizations helping Port Washington residents impacted by the pandemic, according to Community Chest Executive Director Julie Meer.

“Providing masks to Port residents is incredibly important to help keep residents safe and we thank the many volunteers that made this possible,” Meer said. “We are continuing to address needs of Port residents impacted by this public health crisis by providing food, housing assistance and more.”

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