We have access to 3,000 non-FDA disposable 3-ply masks for general use. They will arrive in 10 days to the United States and will be shipped from San Francisco. The masks will then be mailed to Heartland China Association https://usheartlandchina.org/ in Fort Collins. Min Fan, RCFC Rotarian, is the Executive Director of this organization and will receive the masks for packaging and distribution. Local Rotarians, wearing masks and gloves, will safely package these for delivery and will deliver these packages to nonprofits serving people experiencing homelessness in Fort Collins. The local nonprofits receiving these masks are Fort Collins Rescue Mission, Catholic Charities and Homeward Alliance who are working together to provide shelter for homeless people during this pandemic at the Fort Collins Rescue Mission and at the Northside Aztlan Community Center.
The recipient organizations of these masks will sign a waiver accepting these as 3-ply, non-FDA approved masks. Though not certified for medical use, the CDC has recommended that some form of mask is better than nothing to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Fort Collins Mission is the primary nonprofit who is working with other partners and the Atzlan Community Center to house and assist people experiencing homelessness during this epidemic. The Executive Director of the Fort Collins Mission is Rotarian Susan Stewart who is a member of the Foothills Rotary Club. The current need at the Fort Collins Mission is 300 masks per month for front-line staff only (not volunteers). The need for the Atzlan Community Center is an estimated 480 masks per day, if the masks are not reused. This number is expected to increase as tents are now beginning to spring up around the building facility as well. Homeless guests may choose to not wear a mask, but it would be in the best interest of their personal health and for the good of the community to provide them the option to use a mask, if they desire. Additionally, these masks will assist staff in reducing the spread of COVID-19 to both the homeless population they serve and to their own families, which could potentially spread the virus more quickly into the general population.
The total cost of the 3000 masks (including shipping) is $1500. the Rotary Club of Fort Collins will contribute $500. We are looking for a $1000 match from district 5440.
Time is of the essence on this grant. According to the Homeless Leadership Council, the need is well stated and the documentation is compelling showing that people experiencing homelessness "who contract COVID-19 are twice as likely to be hospitalized, up to four times as likely to require critical care and two to three times as likely to die from the illness as the general population." Providing masks to this vulnerable and under-served homeless community at a critical time can have a very large impact on minimizing the spread of the virus within a vulnerable community, who not only has limited food and financial resources, but often times very limited health care resources.
The current needs can easily outweigh the supply of 3000 masks. However, 3000 masks can significantly slow the rate of infection in a community of fragile people with few resources. Thus, it will provide an extra layer of protection to flatten the curve so hospitals can better cope with cases of COVID-19. Just as Rotarians joined together to help stop the spread of Polio, this is another pandemic in which Rotarians can be of tremendous service by helping some of the most broken people in our community and the heroic front-line staff caring for them, while protecting our city's overall health by reducing the spread of this deadly virus.
Lastly, through RC of Fort Collins and district support of this grant, many Rotarians can feel good about doing something to help in this time of crisis while we may be feeling a bit powerless at home.