PORT TOWNSEND — More than 3,700 cloth face masks have been donated to Jefferson County’s Community Mask Program.
One volunteer has been overseeing the collection, inspection and redistribution of them.
Lynda Roslund, 59, has been coordinating the community mask program for over a month. Each day she drives to the four drop-off locations and then to the pick-up sites so the masks can be distributed.
The community face mask program was launched by the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management at the end of March, and so far about 3,700 masks have been donated for community use and about 150 for medical use, Roslund said.
When Roslund collects the masks, she counts them, marks how many were made by whom, checks their quality and then drops them off at the pick-up sites. The masks are supposed to be pre-bagged and labeled with the how many, community or hospital and who made them, which allows Roslund to not have to handle the masks directly, she said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the stay at home order was announced, Roslund was in the process of applying for jobs — and even had interviews lined up that were cancelled — but with everything shut down, she decided to find a way to stay busy.
“I was very keen that I wanted to do something and give back to the community,” Roslund said. “The face mask program is going to be around for awhile.
“I’m a program manager and this was kind of the perfect thing for me to take on.”
Roslund became involved with the program after contacting former Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson to see where volunteer work was needed. Stinson put her in touch with David Cordier of the county Department of Emergency Management (DEM), who discussed the ideas for the program and that the DEM needed a volunteer to oversee it.
“Lynda stepped up to the plate early on when the COVID crisis first exacerbated by volunteering for DEM in the role of Community Mask Program Coordinator,” Cordier said.
“What we thought would be a relatively simple task actually turned out to be a large undertaking as community masking became a significant part of preventing the spread of COVID.
“Lynda has tirelessly put in huge amounts of time, energy and driving to pick up masks, screen them and deliver them to drop off points. She has also worked with sewing groups on behalf of DEM to help get masks into our community and our hospital,” Cordier continued.
“This volunteer work has been invaluable.”
Roslund has been getting support from the Face Mask Challenge Port Townsend group on Facebook, who have been donating masks to the community program and to the health care workers and long-term care facilities directly, as well as coordinating the efforts of multiple seamstresses and fabric/material donations to be made into masks.
Guidelines differ for community masks and health-care masks. For instance, each health-care mask must have a pocket for a filter. Full information on mask standards can be found at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-CommunityMasks.
Sewn masks can be dropped off at four locations: outside the Jefferson County Library, 620 Cedar Ave., Port Hadlock; outside the Port Townsend Public Library, 1220 Lawrence St., Port Townsend; Food Coop book drop at 414 Kearney St., Port Townsend; and Quilcene Community Center book drop at 294952 U.S. Highway 101, Quilcene.
Residents can pick up face masks from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday at Salish Coast Elementary School, 1637 Grant St. and the Jefferson County Airport, 191 Airport Cutoff Road; they are available during regular business hours at Safeway Food Store, 442 West Sims Way; Food Coop, 414 Kearney St.; Quilcene Village Store, 294235 US Highway 101; QFC Port Hadlock, 1890 Irondale Road.
At the pick-up locations, masks are first-come, first served and are known to be distributed quickly.
Mask donations in Clallam County are going to medical professionals, first responders and long-term care providers. They’re not available for the public.
Sequim residents have supply pickup and masks/gown drop-off options at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave.; Sequim Community Church, 950 N. Fifth Ave.; Sound Community Bank, 645 W. Washington St.;and Greywolf Elementary School, 171 Carlsborg Road.
“It’s a very high energy time right now and we have to keep ourselves grounded and focused on the goal: fight the COVID disease,” Roslund said.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at [email protected].