Local News

Local nonprofits distribute protective masks to minorities

Posted April 21, 2020 6:14 p.m. EDT
Updated April 21, 2020 8:50 p.m. EDT

— Experts say that minorities could be hit the hardest by the coronavirus, so local nonprofits have stepped up to provide free masks to minorities who otherwise wouldn't have any.

The Diamante Arts & Cultural Center, a Latino arts organization, partnered with the nonprofit Asian Focus and distributed hundreds of masks Tuesday.

Roberto Perez, chairman of the Diamante Arts & Cultural Center, said that minorities have many reasons they might not have masks during a pandemic.

“They don’t have access to them, and they are afraid to go to establishments to get them," Perez said. "We tried to find a place where they know and are comfortable to come to- and get it."

Perez also said thousands of people have contacted the organization asking for masks. The cultural center didn't have enough masks to help all of the people asking for them, so they set up a to raise $5,000 to purchase more masks.

Santo Eiroe, in line for a mask, said he is still going to work every day. He is provided a mask by his job, so he was in line to get a mask for his family.

“We can’t find them anywhere," Eiroe said about the protective masks. "We heard they were giving them away here online, and that’s why we are here."

Event organizers said they hoped to give community members of all backgrounds and colors a chance to protect and inform themselves during this pandemic.

“There’s a lot of resources but there’s no translating, being able to share it in the communities," said Benjamin UySmith, president Asain Focus. "It’s only going out to a few amount of people."

The organizations will be distributing more masks on Wednesday at Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal, at 2331 New Bern Ave. in Raleigh.

The masks will be handed out at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The organizers recommend getting in line early and said it's first come, first served.

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