COVID-19 Community Face Mask Project
In the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, the panic buying of masks designated for health-care workers exacerbated the lack of PPE for medical professionals; therefore, medical students from across several states collaborated with community members and their medical schools to make masks for community members to ease the burden on healthcare workers. First-year medical students at the University of California, Riverside along with several faculty members worked together to sew homemade masks to be used by non-medical professions. Several hundred of the masks were distributed to Barrio Cafe, which is a LatinX owned restaurant that has dedicated its kitchen to providing free food for homeless individuals. Masks were also distributed to the Solano County Behavioral Health Center. Additionally, masks have been donated to homeless and low-income individuals within the local community. The masks raised over $500 on Etsy and $200 through GoFundMe. Approximately 1,000 masks have been distributed in California and Arizona and more are being made currently. This was a coordinated effort with several people in charge of buying/ preparing the fabric for sewing and other members sewing the fabric in their homes.