Pittsburgh’s People of the Year 2020: Health | Pittsburgh’s People of the Year | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh’s People of the Year 2020: Health

Operation Face Mask made and delivered hundreds of masks to community members

click to enlarge Members of Operation Face Mask - CP PHOTO: LAKE LEWIS
CP Photo: Lake Lewis
Members of Operation Face Mask
It's hard now to recall the period of the pandemic when most people didn't have facemasks on hand, and many were scrambling to make sure doctors, frontline workers, and everyone else had adequate protection from the virus. Operation Face Mask was formed in April as a group of volunteers, led by professional tailor Jenn Gooch, who made and delivered hundreds of masks to community members, prioritizing those who needed them most. According to an interview with CMU, the group has worked with a doctor to get masks to inmates in the Allegheny County Jail, and, per the Operation Face Mask website, has also sent masks far outside of Pittsburgh, including to teachers nationwide, as well as the Navajo Nation. While the team wrapped up their efforts in December, their work provided a crucial resource that will keep giving. The masks are reusable, and many of them have likely been washed and used dozens of times, protecting wearers over and over again. Plus, Operation Face Mask just donated all of their remaining materials, and several hundred masks, to another local mask organization: PGH MasQue Project, which provides masks to the trans and queer community.

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