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Thousands of Masks Going Out

Sharon Ferber with masks

Sharon Ferber of the Sullivan County Division of Community Resources is one of the Emergency Community Assistance Center team members distributing thousands of masks around the County.

Liberty, NY – Sullivan County Public Health Services is working with the Emergency Community Assistance Center (ECAC) to distribute 1,500 face masks to 13 area food pantries throughout the County this week. An additional 2,500 masks will be distributed to low-income families, senior citizens, the Federation for the Homeless, and small private businesses with essential workers, in collaboration with the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce.

These surgical face masks were purchased with funding made available to Sullivan County Public Health Services by the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO) through a $6,785 grant from the New York Health Foundation to purchase flu vaccine, masks, food boxes and gift cards at local grocery stores. 

As many Sullivan County residents continue to encounter challenges associated with COVID-19, the ECAC and Sullivan County Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County (CCE) have been collaborating with Public Health to ensure people who are in quarantine have access to food, and to also ensure that face coverings and masks are available.

Sullivan County has had 2,629 confirmed cases of COVID-19 from March 13 through December 21, with 793 people on quarantine, the highest since May 29. Collaborations between non-profits, local government, school districts and others were initiated in February 2020 for help with food assistance and the ECAC was activated to deliver food, masks and medication to those most in need. The ECAC, staffed by the Center for Workforce Development and the Office for the Aging, remains active, and due to the rising number of cases over the past two months, the demand has increased, and resources are being depleted.  

Sullivan County Public Health Services has also used these funds to provide at-risk community members who work at area manufacturing plants with flu vaccinations and masks to reduce their risk of complications of co-infection from the flu and COVID-19. Rural Migrant Ministries is assisting in distributing masks to these communities. Many of these vulnerable individuals are also at increased risk for food insecurity due to COVID-19’s impact upon sustained employment.

These funds will be used to provide supplemental food boxes and/or gift cards to families and individuals identified as at risk for food insecurity and/or are low-income and have been more greatly impacted by COVID-19. Food boxes and gift cards have been distributed to homes by the ECAC and CCE, and at community outreach flu clinics held by Public Health in several of the most vulnerable communities in Sullivan County.

For more info and to request assistance with a COVID-19-related need for food, medicine, shelter or other concern, the ECAC welcomes calls at 845-807-0925