The purpose of the new GoFundMe – London | is to mask London schoolchildren with quality face masks The Canadian News

A new GoFundMe campaign aimed at getting high filtration, respirator-style masks on the faces of London, Ont., schoolchildren has raised more than $ 3,000 since it was launched eight days ago when students across the province returned to personal learning amid an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The campaign use the donations to purchase pediatric N95-equivalent masks that will be packaged in sets and distributed throughout the city, prioritizing schools that have been hit the hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the GoFundMe.

N95-type breathing masks offer better protection against COVID-19 and the highly transferable Omicron variant compared to other face masks, but due to the overwhelming demand it is harder to obtain, and the downturn is spreading online marketplaces. They are also more expensive than other options, resulting in both a time and financial hurdle for many families.

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“We are really driven by our understanding of recent research that has shown that individuals, families and communities that have been systematically marginalized and underserved have really been hit the hardest during COVID-19,” said Mary Harrison, one of the campaign’s co-founders. . Monday in an interview.

“To reduce the strain on families already bearing the brunt of the pandemic, we saw an opportunity to raise funding to support our neighbors across the city to access these resources for their children.”

Harrison, a curriculum consultant at Fanshawe College, is one of four Londoners involved in the campaign alongside Andrea Legato, Mandy Penny and Kathryn Adams-Sloan. Since its launch on January 16, at least 51 donors have contributed to the initiative, which raised $ 3,075 from early Monday afternoon.

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Harrison said the campaign has so far purchased a variety of masks, focusing on N95s or equivalent. The campaign also purchased level three surgical masks along with materials to make formers that fasten the masks tightly against one’s face.

“At the moment we have about 1,500 masks in our possession or are in transit, as well as other materials,” she said. As of Monday, the group had created just under 100 sets containing four CA-N95 pediatric masks, paper bags to reuse the masks, and an information sheet. Translators are wanted to make the information sheet available in other languages.

“We are currently working with a number of organizations across the city that serve families directly,” she said.

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During the interview, Harrison apologized and said she could not yet name the groups in public as the campaign had not received permission to do so. If and when permission is granted, that information, along with updates on where donations and sets will go, will be shared via the GoFundMe and on social media by the #MaskUpLondonOnt hashtag, she said.

“Our distribution strategy will kind of develop as the campaign continues to gain traction. “We hope that, in addition to working with community partners, we may be able to create a kind of pop-up model in out-of-town center spaces around the city where we can distribute materials directly to people,” Harrison said.

“In terms of deciding which neighborhoods to target for that initiative, we were in touch with school board trustees as well as professional health care workers, (and) social workers in the city, so we will determine where the greatest need may be. that material and we will publish it as best we can when we go. ”

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Those involved in the campaign have all agreed to continue it for as long as necessary, Harrison said, adding that the GoFundMe will remain open to receive donations to buy and distribute more masks to local families.

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“We know that masks are often set up as an individual responsibility, but we also recognize that this means that the cost of them has been passed on to individuals and families,” she said.

“We see it as a problem that the cost of accessing high filtration masks is an obstacle, and also the time. There is currently a lot of pressure on the supply chain. So we hope to help alleviate the obstacle that is needed. to locate the offer as it is available. ”

Along with the return of personal learning, the campaign also comes because the province has stopped publishing information on new COVID-19 cases in schools due to a limited testing policy.

The province now shares absenteeism data online, whether related to the virus or not, and families will be notified once 30 percent of students and staff are absent.

More information about the campaign can be found on the GoFundMe Page.

– With files from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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