26 August, 2020
Community & Services
While schoolchildren begin in-person classes this week, masks are required. Some local college kids are helping keep our Orange County kiddos covered through a non-profit called ‘MaskOn.” The organization, which was formed by four local college students studying at the University of Central Florida and Rollins College, is working to promote healthy habits and compassion around the Orlando area, while supporting the local schools.
When Orange County Government heard of their mission to help during the COVID-19 pandemic, its Public Safety Director Danny Banks helped facilitate with the donating of 10,000 masks to the group and 300 bottles of hand sanitizers.
“Wearing facial coverings is an excellent way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, while also showing your general respect and kindness for others,” said MaskON President and University of Central Florida junior Jica Garces. “We want to educate the community, specifically younger children, about the importance of wearing facemasks during the Coronavirus pandemic.”
As Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) works to open safely, MaskON has been assembling wellness kits for 16 pre-K and kindergarten classrooms at three OCPS elementary schools including Columbia Elementary, East Lake Elementary and Bonneville Elementary. The kits include 50 children’s facemasks, 50 adult masks for the teachers, one large bottle of hand sanitizer, three small bottles of hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, band aids, a box of Kleenex and a small handbook, which will help children understand the importance of hygiene and social distancing. The MaskON team plans to distribute the kits when classes resume in-person the last week of August.
“The strength of a community can be measured by how they band together during times of hardship,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “MaskON is a shining example of how our young people are demonstrating courage and resiliency during these unprecedented times. Orange County Government is proud to support this group of students who want to make a difference in our County.”
To help fund the wellness kits, MaskON partnered with University of Central Florida’s Asian Student Association, and sold snack packs for $6. Each pack included Asian sweets such as candies, cookies and pies. The organization also has a GoFundMe page, which is currently accepting donations. All proceeds earned will support the creation and distribution of MaskON’s wellness kits, which will be given to those in need around the community.
In addition to elementary schools, MaskON plans to donate to local institutions such as churches, clinics, and nursing homes.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Orange County Government has given away more than 7.5 million facemasks and more than one million hand sanitizers to our community and small businesses, as well as through social services organizations in our community.
For more information about Orange County’s personal protective equipment (PPE) initiatives for the community, visit ocfl.net/PPE.
Photo cutline: MaskOn members including Jica Garces, Diana Lam, Merna Khalil, Anh Bui, Angie Amado, Nhi Bui