THONWS-02-27-21 MASKS

These students in Thomasville City Schools show the masks they received as part of America’s Mask Challenge, a new initiative from United Way, the Business Roundtable, a group of 182 CEOs from large American companies, and the CDC Foundation.

THOMASVILLE — As part of America’s Mask Challenge, United Way of Davidson County coordinated with HanesBrands Inc. to deliver 121,500 reusable cloth masks for 47 under-resourced schools in Davidson County during December and January to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Challenge is a new initiative from United Way, the Business Roundtable, a group of 182 CEOs from large American companies, and the CDC Foundation. The challenge aims to deliver 200 million washable face masks to 40 million students, teachers and staff in America’s most under-resourced schools, averaging about five washable masks per person.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cloth masks in schools can help slow the spread of the coronavirus, along with other mitigation strategies like hand-washing, social distancing and regular cleansing and disinfecting of frequently-touched surfaces, in schools and buses. The Challenge, which launched on December 9, is expediting mask delivery for the second half of the school year to help alleviate a mask shortage among students and staff.

In Davidson County, masks went to under-resourced schools, which serve high populations of students from low-income families. Dr. Catherine Gentry, Superintendent for Thomasville City Schools said, “We greatly appreciate the donation from United Way and Hanes Brand to assure we have plenty of good quality masks to keep our staff and students safe as we work to return to face to face learning in the second semester. We work each day in each of our schools to make learning environments as safe as possible for students and staff. These extra masks will go a long way to continuing and further supporting these efforts. Thank you United Way and Hanes Brands!”

Kristie Hege, President, United Way of Davidson County said, “This support from HanesBrands will help ensure our most vulnerable residents have masks to help keep them safe and slow the spread. We urge other companies to join in this effort and take part in America’s Mask Challenge.”

HanesBrands, a leading global marketer of branded everyday basic apparel, is the first company to join the Challenge. Hanes has donated 25 million masks to the Challenge, which are now being distributed. As the Challenge gains traction, Hanes will produce the masks and coordinate with United Way on delivery.

Chris Fox, Vice President Corporate Social Responsibility at HanesBrands Inc. notes, “United Way has led the way in helping our neighbors through the pandemic. We’re pleased to support United Way’s effort to help keep school children safe and healthy as they return to classrooms.”

United Way of Davidson County has been part of the effort to help communities cope with the health economic and education fallout from COVID-19. When the pandemic began the United Way of Davidson County created the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. Donations from the fund were used to support United Way of Davidson County Partner Agencies help the most vulnerable populations receive critical financial and social service support during the global crisis. Over 19,000 individuals received assistance in 2020 through United Way funded programs.

— Staff report