Ford Taking Part in Michigan Mask Aid Initiative
On Friday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the state plans to distribute 4 million free face masks to residents to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Ford Motor Company is teaming with the State of Michigan as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Michigan Mask Aid, a joint effort to supply masks to those most in need.
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“I am thrilled that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Ford, and FEMA are working together to help control the spread of the coronavirus,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Vulnerable populations may have difficulties buying masks and our schools need face coverings to keep students, staff, and community members safe.”
Ford supplying 1.5M masks to aid vulnerable residents
Michigan Mask Aid is part of the Mask Up Michigan campaign and is aimed primarily at individuals with insufficient income as well as seniors, schools, and shelters for the homeless. Ford is providing 1.5 million masks, which along with 1 million masks from FEMA will be spread out across organizations like the City of Detroit, low-income schools, and COVID-19 testing sites.
Michigan Mask Aid will prioritize distributing free masks to vulnerable individuals, including minority residents disproportionately affected by the pandemic due to racism. This approach aligns with the goals of the Task Force on Racial Disparities, established by Gov. Whitmer to ensure equitable protection for every citizen of Michigan. Black residents make up 40 percent of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths as of April despite just 13.6 percent of the state’s population being Black.
“It’s critically important to make sure communities most impacted by COVID-19 have greater access to masks at no cost,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “The MI Mask Aid initiative is a critical step in this effort.”
Gordon notes that masks reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by around 70 percent.
Outgoing Ford CEO Jim Hackett said that the company coordinated with the Task Force on Racial Disparities to make sure that its 1.5 million masks wound up in the places where the need was the greatest. Hackett added that Ford is continuing its efforts to combat the pandemic by leveraging partnerships via the Ford Fund.