By Samaria Bailey
PHILADELPHIA — State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Philadelphia, and community partners presented 1400 face masks to the Philadelphia Police Department’s Northwest division on Tuesday afternoon.
The masks were donated by Patriot Homecare, an agency that services seniors and people living with disabilities. They contacted Kinsey about donating masks after they were able to secure tens of thousands from one of their vendors.
“Getting a mask is like striking gold because everybody is trying to obtain them. We are competing with first responders throughout the country, and hospitals as well. The donations of these marks are very important and very much appreciated by myself, my officers in the Northwest police division, and my captains – it’s just a fantastic gift today,” said DeShawn Beaufort, Inspector, Northwest Police Division.
Ted Millstein, Executive Vice President of Patriot Homecare, said they also plan to donate 30,000 respirator masks to hospitals and 8,000 to first responders. They also have 50,000 surgical masks reserved for their workers and the community.
“It’s more of a situation where we decided to purchase them because we wanted to give back to the community and people who keep us safe day to day,” said Millstein. “We wanted to make sure our workers and patients have them as well.”
A local youth, Alaiya Muhsin, 10, also sewed 50 cloth masks and donated all of them to the Northwest police division. Her family contacted Kinsey’s office about donating masks to the community, including seniors. Muhsin said in the days leading up to the event, she stayed up until midnight and later to finish the masks on her sewing machine.
“It was kind of complicated because I used to get mad when the thread popped. I felt tired and stayed up until 12 or 1 in the morning to make the masks for the police,” she said. “I’m happy I’m giving people masks that need them.”
Kinsey said they will continue the effort, targeting areas that need them the most.
“We started looking at first responders because they are on the front line,” he said. “In addition, we are working with SEPTA and Patriot Homecare to target the busiest travel stations.”
Samaria Bailey is a correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.