Mayor Byron Brown announced the City of Buffalo received a donation of 13,500 masks from the Ford Motor Co. and Local 897 of the United Auto Workers to help protect residents against the coronavirus.
"Thank you to Ford and the UAW for this generous donation. These masks will be distributed through our senior and community centers citywide," Brown said. "This donation is a great reminder to Buffalo residents that mask wearing remains essential to reducing the spread of COVID-19. While our vaccination rate is increasing, masks and social-distancing practices are still critical to avoiding another spike in cases and deaths."
Protective masks were also given to residents of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority's Sedita Senior Apartments, located next door to the city's Richmond-Summer Community Center, where the donation took place.
The UAW and the Ford Buffalo Stamping Plant have donated more than 1 million masks to frontline workers and communities in Buffalo and across Western New York since the onset of the pandemic.
"We were just looking for ways to help during this time of COVID, so we at the UAW decided to manufacture masks. This is our way of assisting the underserved," UAW Local 897 President Patrick Radtke said.
Deputy Mayor Ellen Grant, who worked with the union to organize the donation, said this donation will be a big help to city residents.
"I continue to believe that each one reaching one will build a tremendous network of humanity. Working with the UAW in this mask giveaway is proof positive and we are grateful," Grant said.
Nationally, the Ford Fund, the auto maker's philanthropic arm, has distributed more than 120 million masks to at-risk communities and 98 million medical-grade masks to first responders across the U.S. over that past year.