The Demand for Personal Protective Equipment is High and People from Every Corner in the County are Helping Out.
FIRST in a Three-Part Series about efforts underway to protect those on the frontlines.
Right now, people are searching for ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In Westchester, and across the world, people are coming together to make masks and other PPE for their neighbors, those who are immunocompromised and frontline heroes. Despite being separate groups, there is no sense of competition among them. They are their own unified community; all just people who want to help those around them. Here’s a look at one such initiative that started in Westchester County that you can be a part of.
Masks & More: A Group Effort
Aparna Paladugu and Morris Mayer organized a Westchester-wide mask making effort called Masks & More. Armonk resident Laurie Anderson joined their team as a Northern Westchester coordinator. “It is unbelievable to me that our healthcare workers had to throw a plea online to get what they need. We just want to help,” said Anderson.
Mayer owns Park Plaza Interiors and when he closed his shop in Mamaroneck due to the pandemic, he devoted the space to making masks and transformed his home into a distribution center. His shop sews about 1,000 masks a week for health care workers on the frontlines and others in need.
Paladugu is a retired psychiatrist who now coordinates, organizes and communicates with everyone involved with Masks & More. Paladugu was contacted by Mayer’s neighbor who wanted to start making masks. After talking to Mayer, the two decided to combine their efforts. All masks that Masks & More makes go to Mayer’s home to be distributed.
“We make sure we have a contact at the hospital or health care facility. It is key so the masks make it to where they need to go,” said Anderson.
They have distributed more than 6,000 masks in Westchester, New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Tennessee. As of April 18, via a nationwide network of upholstery shops that Mayer is a part of, 70,592 masks were made and distributed across the United States.
“We would not be so successful today in making masks and distributing without the enthusiasm of so many volunteers who selflessly started sewing using their own funds to buy material and make masks,” said Paladugu.
The group makes two different types of masks: one with a pocket for frontline workers and one without for seniors or health care workers not on the frontlines. Anderson’s main responsibility is a runner. She makes sure everyone has what they need and delivers the masks.
Nextdoor is an online platform where people can link up with others in their area to get information about goods and services. Anderson got involved with Paladugu and Mayer’s efforts after seeing a doctor post on Nextdoor asking for masks.
Since transforming his store into a distribution center, Mayer has been paying his employees and paying for materials out of pocket and funds are running low. For more information and to donate, please visit: https://www.smilesforsaige.com/plaza-park-interiors
If you would like to get involved, please visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1F_04aoZ7Af09yAJ9rAAS0I57Fqg3BIUlOTMU78s6NI8/viewform?edit_requested=true
Plus, here, a video on how to make masks for health care workers. Volunteers Katie and Eric Rauch created this for Masks & More.