Yesterday the State of Utah’s Unified Command received a donation of more than one million children’s face masks distributed in disadvantaged communities and other groups, including Red Cross offices, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA and YWCAs, and tribal communities across Utah. This donation of protective masks to children in Utah is part of the Millions of Masks for Children Initiative, a growing nationwide effort to help protect millions of children from COVID-19.
The Millions of Masks for Children Initiative was co-founded by Trang Le, a volunteer with the international aid group SmartAID, and Shachar Zahavi, founder, and CEO of SmartAID. The donation is made possible by FLTR, a leading supplier of a wide range of personal protective equipment (PPE) based in Bellevue, WA, and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah). In addition, DHL provided shipping to Utah on a pro-bono basis.
“These masks will go a long way to help protect our state’s youth, in particular minority and low-income individuals,” said Mike Moon, Associate Director of UServeUtah and a member of the Unified Command team. “We are working with our partners to develop a distribution and use plan that will ensure the donation is used in the most effective way possible to honor further the generosity of FLTR, SmartAID, and DHL.”
“We recently facilitated a similar donation of PPE to child care and youth organizations throughout Washington State,” said Le, who is also a volunteer with Restart Partners. “We want to expand to every state, so we were looking for another state to take a comparable shipment. We knew from continued conversations with EDCUtah that Utah’s existing PPE distribution system was capable of quickly getting these supplies in the hands of those who most need them.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, Unified Command has delivered hundreds of millions of pieces of both purchased and donated PPE to hospitals and health departments in each of Utah’s 29 counties. The logistical expertise of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the labor of the Utah National Guard have been key to a seamless distribution.
EDCUtah has served in a supporting role to the Unified Command since the start of the pandemic, providing research, supply chain identification, marketing, and administrative assistance. “At EDCUtah, we say half in jest that our job is to ‘know someone,’ and getting to know and collaborating with Millions of Mask for Children Initiative is certainly helping Utah’s recovery efforts,” said Stephanie Frohman, EDCUtah director of special projects. “We hope to continue working with them to share best practices with other states and local governments as we all cope together with this crisis.”