PREBLE COUNTY — YWCA Dayton is asking for donations of fabric face masks for staff and clients. This call has been answered with close to 300 donated masks, and counting.
According to Kelsi Martinez, Volunteer Coordinator, YWCA Dayton knew it was going to have to ask for mask donations, but once the CDC recommended wearing masks in public settings, staff knew they had to put the call out to the community.
“At YWCA it is our job to make sure we are ensuring the highest level of safety for our women and children, and right now that includes giving them masks. Essentials parts of our shelter are communal, and nearly half of our permanent supportive housing residents are over the age of 55. We also have a good portion of our staff who are essential and in direct service,” she said.
Close to 300 masks have been donated, but that number grows every day. One of the first people to answer the call for masks was Wanda Byrne, of Eaton, who is the grandmother of YWCA Director of Rural Strategy Courtney Griffith.
She donated 12 masks to YWCA Dayton, wanting to help her granddaughter and the community alike.
“I just feel like I enjoyed making them and I was glad there was something I could do. I’m 87, I can’t get out because I have asthma, but it was something I could do. Everybody needs to do something! That wasn’t a very big thing, because I’m sure there are women who’ve made far more than I did, but I was glad I could do what I had the opportunity to do,” she said.
“I was glad to do it. I had asked God to show me a way to help, because there is so little I can do. When Courtney said, ‘Grandma, can you make some masks?’ I did it because she asked me, but that was the answer to my prayer.”
Martinez was completely shocked by the generosity of the community, who continues to donate masks every day.
“I know the community cares very deeply about YWCA, and are searching for ways to help from home, but this was an impressive response. We were able to give everyone a mask within a week of our initial ask. I think what shocked me most was that a lot of donors were going above and beyond the ask; I received emails from donors asking what our preferred mask style and pattern was, and even had a donor text me about the shipping status of their elastic,” she said.
YWCA Dayton is still in need of more masks. Martinez explained, YWCA Dayton has been able to give every staff member and client one cloth face mask, but one mask is not enough.
“We have essential employees who are working their full work week in the building, and are using the same cloth mask. If you are one of our clients or residents simply going to the kitchen or picking up your mail requires a mask. Some masks are being used at a higher rate, and being washed more frequently, which will cause periods of not having a mask because it is drying or it could break down completely. We want to make sure that each person can rotate masks to reduce wear down or at least have a backup mask,” she said.
“Because of the quick response from our community we were able to get masks in the hands of staff and clients very quickly. We make sure that each mask is placed in a sealed bag with an instructional sheet on how to use and clean them. We are asking staff and clients to wear masks while they are in communal spaces or to use while making trips out of the building.”
YWCA Dayton’s business office is closed to the public, so those interested in donating need to call Courtney Griffith at 937-336-5859 to schedule the mask donation drop off. Normally, YWCA Dayton accepts donations of all kinds, but right now they are only accepting fabric masks and new/unopened donations. In addition to masks, YWCA Dayton is always in need of personal hygiene, laundry and cleaning supplies.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @Kimbler_RH