Mask Transit: Masks for Vulnerable Populations
Mask Transit is a grassroots organization that aims to distribute cloth masks and educational material on general COVD-19 precautions and proper mask use to vulnerable communities. Across the U.S., neighborhoods with high poverty rates are seeing more cases of COVID-19 than those in affluent areas. A significant reason for this is that staying at home is a privilege. The CDC’s recommendation to wear a mask whenever in public has further widened disparities as many individuals do not have access to proper masks or lack education on proper mask use. Mask Transit focuses on providing mask kits to the most vulnerable members of our population, including essential workers, individuals of low socioeconomic status, and the undomiciled. The initiative was started in April 2020 by a group of Mount Sinai medical students. Our educational quarter cards, drafted by medical students and reviewed by Sinai physicians, are available in multiple languages and have been optimized for readability at a 6th grade reading level. We also created a separate version for undomiciled individuals given their unique needs. The cloth masks are sourced from hospitals currently not accepting cloth masks, local donors, and companies. Over the course of 2 months, we have brought together a team of 75 medical and non-medical students across 15 institutions and established 10 chapters. We have partnered with 20+ community organizations and medical school-affiliated student-run free clinics across New York City, Boston, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Virginia/D.C, Ohio, and Nebraska and distributed 10,000 mask kits. A list of our community partners, PDFs of our educational material, and donation links are available on our website.