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Making Face Masks

Thank you for considering donating face masks! On Wednesday, Dionne, a Friends parent and family nurse practitioner at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, shared with us the following information:

“The patients that we care for are majority people of color, and over 50% were born outside of the United States. The percentage of people living below New York City’s calculated poverty level in the hospital’s catchment area is higher than many NYC neighborhoods. As a result of deep social inequities, our patients historically have a higher rate of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease when compared with other areas in NYC. And now, our patients are dealing with a higher rate of Covid-19. In fact, the zip code in which SUNY Downstate is located (11203) has one of the highest number of deaths related to Covid-19 of any zip code in the 5 boroughs of New York City. As healthcare providers in New York City, we have witnessed and experienced a tremendous amount of trauma, illness and death in the past 5 weeks. As such, my colleagues and I feel compelled to organize and offer something to our beloved community. There are several homeless shelters and mental health facilities close to our hospital, and we know that people are often in close proximity in these spaces. The CDC recommends cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of Covid-19, and while PPE is scarce, we thought that offering reusable face masks to local organizations in need might be a useful contribution. So again, thank you for thinking of us! We appreciate the time, energy and love you infused into each mask you are sending.”


City-wide data confirms the reality of these inequities. The coronavirus is killing black and Latino people in New York City at twice the rate that it is killing white people, according to preliminary data released on Wednesday by the city. The disparity reflects longstanding and persistent economic inequalities and differences in access to health care. 


But there are ways we can try to change these numbers. The CDC believes that using facemasks may help to slow the spread of COVID, and based on the statistics we just saw, providing vulnerable populations with facemasks is critically important.  So we invite you to participate in the initiative Dionne shared by making masks and shipping them to the address below.


Click here to learn more about the CDC’s recommendations, and how to make a mask.


Once made, mail your masks to:

Downstate Street Medicine Outreach Association

PO= NC; Mail Services UH B-529 

445 Lenox Rd

Brooklyn, NY 11203-2098

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