We need your help to help students #MasQUeUp for back-to-school. Please share this post with anyone who might be able to help. Wondering where to donate face masks?
The Pittsburgh MasQUe ProjecT is issuing an appeal for donations to provide face masks to school-aged children in LGBTQIA+ households throughout the region. The project needs 100-150 masks per month in order to provide every participating child adequate masks. That’s a total of 500-750 masks.
Students spending time in a classroom setting of any type will need at least two clean masks per day, one to wear and a spare to change into. It is unrealistic to expect parents to handwash multiple masks every single school night, so the project plans to provide three to four masks to each student on a monthly basis. The extra masks will allow for laundering and/or replacing misplaced or damaged masks.
“Our bulk donations tend to be universal adult-sized masks, so we rely on individual sewers whom we call sewists to provide these smaller-sized masks,” says Lyndsey Sickler of TransPride Pittsburgh. “We are putting out this call now so we can be prepared for August.”
Per the order of Governor Tom Wolf, all students will be required to wear masks on the school bus and while at school.
“My high-school aged daughter mentioned to me that she would need at least two masks daily if she returns to the classroom and that’s when it clicked for me – she can wear adult sizes without a problem, but a few years ago – I would be struggling to find appropriate masks” says Amy Fiore Garrison, a volunteer with the project and retired podiatrist. “I came to the leadership team and suggested we get in front of this to ensure the most vulnerable students have some choices.”
The project plans to purchase youth sized masks through retailers like Target if necessary. They estimate providing 100-150 masks per month to this age group will cost $800 each month. As the virus continues to be transmitted, the project anticipates their participant list to grow exponentially.
“We’d much prefer to work with local sewists who can tailor masks to meet the students’ specific needs,” says Sue Kerr. “Some children prefer ear loops, others need a sturdy tie, and all kids want the mask to reflect their personality in some way. We need to have options for parents and hopefully some choices for the student.”
The project is accepting donations of homemade masks in assorted youth sizes from preschool to college. They will also take donated fabrics that appeal to those age groups. Sewists willing to volunteer can email firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up at https://forms.gle/9dk9GVK4hxrdQHZa6
Financial donations can be made online
Via Paypal paypal.me/pghlesbian
Cash App $pghlesbian
Checks can be mailed payable to Pittsburgh MasQUe Project c/oc Pittsburgh Equality Center 5840 Ellsworth Avenue #100 Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Mask donations can be no-contact dropped at locations in Beechview, Northside, and Shadyside. Visit http://pghlesbian.com for more details.
Individuals who want to sign up for monthly face masks can use this link: http://bit.ly/FaceMaskRequest
Founded in April as a partnership of TransPride Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents blog, the all-volunteer effort has over 320 individuals signed up for a monthly mask distribution. They also regularly distribute masks in bulk to LGBTQIA organizations including Sisters Pgh, True T Pgh, Project Silk, Shepherd Wellness Community, and the Garden of Peace Project, Crafton Pride Parade, and multiple trans and queer led marches. The project’s fiscal sponsor is the Pittsburgh Equality Center.
The project has distributed nearly 2000 masks since April and plans to distribute at least 500 during July.
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