Mott Foundation will provide 2 million masks for Flint

An African American teenager wears a backpack and facial mask to protect himself from COVID-19. He is standing in front of a brick building and pink flowers.
Public health experts advise that, in addition to washing hands, wearing face masks is one of the best ways we can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: Imagesbybarbara/iStock

Flint, Michigan — The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation wants to get 2 million disposable face masks into the Flint community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Foundation intends to grant 2 million masks at a cost of nearly $1.2 million to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. The Food Bank, the City of Flint and Help Centers will work together to get the masks into the community.

Thus far, nearly 300,000 masks have been delivered to the Food Bank. It’s projected that an additional 700,000 masks will be delivered by the end of June, with the remaining balance to follow shortly thereafter.

The Food Bank will begin by distributing masks to Help Centers, nonprofit organizations and  the City of Flint. The City, in turn, will distribute masks to small businesses and faith-based organizations.

“As organizations begin to reopen in Michigan, it is vital that proper health and safety measures are still followed to ensure all members of our community stay safe,” said Kara Ross, president and CEO of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. “The COVID-19 outbreak has stretched the resources of service-providing organizations everywhere. We are grateful for the support from the Mott Foundation. These masks will keep volunteers and essential workers safe. And it’s one less item that organizations in the Flint area have to worry about acquiring as they serve those in need.”

Flint nonprofits that need masks for their staff and volunteers should contact Stephanie Markland at the Food Bank at 810-396-0253. Beginning next week, residents will be able to pick up masks at Flint’s three Help Centers. The City of Flint is expected to begin distributing masks to faith-based groups and small businesses later this month.

“When we mask up, we save lives,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “We appreciate the Mott Foundation’s support and commitment being shown once again to the residents of Flint. These face masks will be a vital tool for our community to be able to reactivate fully and safely.”

“We want to help all members of the community stay healthy,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation. “Public health experts advise that, in addition to washing hands, wearing masks is one of the best ways we can help prevent the spread of the virus. It’s something simple that most of us can do to protect each other and keep Flint moving forward safely.”