Within less than a week, an organization based out of Macon, with the help of several area religious leaders across middle Georgia, plans to giveaway 100,000 cloth masks to help prevent the spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus known as COVID-19.
The first such giveaway of masks is slated for Sunday, July 5, at the Chapel of All Faiths on the campus of Renaissance Park at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville. The church is located at 252 Swint Avenue, S.E.
The giveaway will be a drive-thru event. It will be held from 1 to 4 p.m., according to Dr. Janet Hogan Lamar, president and chief executive officer of Queen Esther Networks & Global Pastors and Leaders in Macon.
The free giveaway of the cloth masks, which can be washed and repeatedly worn, is sponsored by The Center for Faith & Opportunity Initiatives.
A similar drive-thru event is scheduled for Tuesday, July 7, at Queen Esther Broadcasting Studio, located at 3740 Eisenhower Parkway in Macon.
Lamar said volunteers are expecting to give away 100,000 free cloth masks to residents living in Milledgeville and Baldwin County, as well as Macon and Bibb.
“We want as many people who don’t have a mask to come out and get as many as you might need,” Lamar said.
She said the masks are not intended for resale purposes.
“They are to be used by individuals and their family members or friends to help stop the spread of this terrible disease that is sickening so many people in this part of Georgia,” Lamar said.
Lamar explained that she has been taking part in teleconference calls from Washington, D.C. with many others from across the country since the pandemic began in mid-March.
“Every one of their calls provides us with information as to resources, such as community partners, as well as dignitaries and government leaders from across the country,” Lamar said, noting there are roughly 800 to 900 people Involved in such calls. “I’m very privileged and honored to be included in these calls.”
The teleconference calls are held two to three times a month.
“Since I became involved in this I’ve just been trying to see what I could do from a collaborative standpoint to help communities in this area better protect themselves from the spread of this virus,” Lamar told The Union-Recorder in a telephone Tuesday afternoon.
Lamar said she realized early on that masks would be a critical need for residents in Middle Georgia.
“I knew that nothing had been done in that capacity to help residents of this area of our state,” Lamar said. “So, I actually sent out a number of emails asking for help, and I filled out an application for these masks.”
Lamar said the masks fill 100 boxes.
“We’re going to give all of them away,” Lamar said. “These masks are washable and can be worn again and again. They are the good kind and approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can also breathe easy with these particular masks.”
Lamar said in the event of rain on Sunday during the scheduled giveaway, the event will be moved inside the Chapel of All Faiths in Milledgeville.
“This event isn’t just open to the residents of Milledgeville and Baldwin County,” Lamar said. “We want residents in surrounding counties to come down, too, and get some of these masks.”
She said residents and churches from Hancock, Putnam, Wilkinson, Washington, Greene, Jones and Jasper counties are welcome.
“We want to help as many people as we can stay as safe as they can during this pandemic.”