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Tuesday, December 7, 2021
HomeNewsLocal Resident Raising Money To Purchase N95 Masks For Vulnerable Communities

Local Resident Raising Money To Purchase N95 Masks For Vulnerable Communities

KAWARTHA LAKES – Like many others Rob Parkin grew up in the Lindsay area and later moved to the city for work. Since the pandemic began he says he’s been devastated watching the toll it has taken on hard hit areas. So he decided to do something about it and is joining forces with Canada Strong Masks to raise money to provide N95 masks for the vulnerable in Peel Region.

“Peel continues to be the hardest hit region and yet astoundingly is one of the most underserved in terms of vaccinations,” said Parkin. “They have the perfect storm of essential businesses, a vulnerable, racialized workforce, and multigenerational homes, combined with a seemingly apathetic disposition from the Ontario Government towards its residents.  We need to put the water where the fire is hottest and help those most disadvantaged.”

But Parkin needs help and has launched a GoFundMe campaign.

“We are still really struggling with COVID in the GTA.  I’m frustrated and angry with the response of the provincial government.  They are prioritizing profits over people,” said Parkin. “People are dying, and the government is ignoring pleas from the bulk of the population and even their own scientific advisors.  We can’t wait for them to solve this.  They just won’t do it.  So, this is me trying to do something meaningful.  I can’t fix paid sick leave, I have no power to change workplace regulations, but I can raise money to pump N95 masks into vulnerable communities.”

Canada Strong Masks is an Ontario distributor for Canadian mask manufacturer DENT-X. Parkin has obtained an agreement to procure their FN-N95-508 respirator masks for one dollar each, if he receives enough support to purchase 50,000 of them.  The masks will then be delivered to food banks in Peel Region, for free.

According to Andrew Mason, co-founder and president of Canada Strong Masks, the company was developed after they saw the success many Asian and then European countries were having at using face masks to suppress covid.

“We were dismayed by the lack of mask wearing culture in Canada and the poor selection of comfortable, breathable masks,” he said. “He (Parkin) saw the tragedy unfolding in Brampton and wanted to do something about it. We’ve also been passionate about getting good masks on all Canadians and have donated over 60,000 masks to date to food banks through our donation program. When Rob approached us with the idea it aligned perfectly with our values and we agreed to partner up.”

Mason noted that food banks are an excellent way to distribute masks to those in need such as essential workers and their families. They have safe staffed locations with good hours and they know their communities needs well, he added. For Parkin’s campaign, Canada Strong Masks are providing masks at-cost and free transportation.

“The initial thought was to get masks to essential workplaces and hand them out to workers.  This would be more direct, but the logistics of distribution are difficult.  You can’t just drop 50,000 masks off at an Amazon fulfillment centre and hope they get used, sending them to food banks ensures that they get into the hands of our most vulnerable,” said Parkin. “The clientele of the food banks are most likely to be those who cannot afford to take a day off from work when ill, or to get tested, or to even get vaccinated.  They are also more likely to be purchasing the cheapest masks that meet the requirement of their workplace to let them work.  These are the folks most at risk.  The masks will have the most benefit in their hands.”

And while Education Minister Stephen Lecce is providing 400 dollars for every school-aged child, to all parents in Ontario, Parkin believes this money could be better spent.

“It’s a billion dollars that could have been used for making schools safer, or paid sick days, but instead he’s sending it to parents.  In my house, we didn’t really need this, I see lots of people in a similar position taking the money and donating it to charities,” he said. “Right now, I believe the best use of this money is to fight COVID.  If, like me, you have been looking for a place to put this money to help, please consider directing a slice of it this way, I am putting my full 800-dollar payment for my two kids towards this, plus more.”

According to Parkin, the masks that will be supplied by Canada Strong Masks boast top quality protection.

  • 5-layer construction includes built-in electrostatic non-woven polypropylene filter
  • Meets the filtration performance guidance of Health Canada FFR (Filtering Faceplate Respirator) and filtration requirements of global standards N-95, FFP-2, KN-95 and KF-94.
  • Filtration meets NIOSH N95 and Health Canada FFR requirements for Particle Filtration Efficiency (PFE) and Bacteria Filtration Efficiency (BFE).
  • Excellent seal, particularly at the nose
  • Good for 8 hours of use each

“I know it feels like using a garden hose to fight a forest fire.  But, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Parkin. “Fifty thousand N95 masks in the hands of vulnerable people in the hottest region of Ontario could prevent a significant number of infections.”

For more information on Strong Masks Canada go to: canadastrongmasks.ca 

For more information on the fundraiser go to:gofund.me/21a85d8


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Jennifer Walker
Jennifer decided to study journalism after having a life long passion for writing. She began her career as a reporter for the Uxbridge Times Journal and moved on to freelance work for various publications after her and her husband welcomed their daughters. She has been published in various Durham Region newspapers, the Durham Parent Magazine as well as Equine Wellness. Jennifer continues to follow her dreams as a wife, mother and journalist and is so excited to join the team at Kawartha411.

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