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COC distributes Free Masks in Fight against COVID-19
Citizen Outreach Coalition (COC) joined hundreds of other charities fighting COVID-19 on Saturday July 11 2020 when it distributed close to 1000 face masks. This happened in Lodge Lane, the “High Street’ of Toxteth, an inner city neighbourhood in Liverpool inhabited mainly by Black and minority ethnic people. Funding for the project was made possible with a grant from Awards for All funding strand from The National Lottery Community Fund. The masks will help beneficiaries fight off the deadly corona virus that has so far killed close to fifty thousand people across the UK.
With most people struggling financially as a result of the pandemic, receiving washable cloth face masks, some of which cost as much as £6 a piece was a welcome relieve to most people.
“A big thanks to Citizen Outreach Coalition and lottery players”, one of the recipients, a middle-aged man with four children said. He received four masks for him, his wife and two children.
A very grateful couple (who received masks) returned a few minutes later with two bottles of coca cola as gifts for volunteers Francis Langley and Sonny Lavoisier who had been distributing masks under the hot sun-a simple act of kindness that showed beneficiaries appreciated the their well packaged masks.
Another recipient who saw one of the flyers distributed called late in the evening of Saturday July 11 2020 asking for a mask. COC project manager Francis Ngwa drove to his house and gave him four masks to the very grateful recipient the next day Sunday July 12 2020. Sam was recently discharged from hospital.
Face masks are now mandatory across public transportation in buses, taxis, trains and coaches in England. From July 24 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered the wearing of face masks in all shops and supermarkets with a possible fine of £100 for anybody who does not. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has since advised wearing a masks in public will help reduce the spread of the virus.
Corona virus infections may be dropping but the deadly virus is still killing people across the UK, the reason for extending the wearing of masks during shopping
Round Two distribution
According to COC Project Manager Francis Ngwa, the event in Toxteth was the first of two campaigns to distribute the two thousand masks the organisation bought as part of its COVID-19 project “Save Lives. Wear a Mask”. Procuring the masks was a bit of a challenge he said adding round two of the distribution will take place at the end of July. “As always, we are extremely grateful to our main funders The National Lottery Community Fund for making this possible. We also need to thank lottery players because they are the real heroes”, Mr Ngwa added.
Volunteer Sonny Lavalie went the extra mile in distributing the masks entering barber shops, supermarkets and butcheries situated in Lodge Lane to give the masks to those who could not leave their businesses to get them from the COC stand outside. “It is always exciting thinking I played a small part in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19”, he said with a broad smile.
Francis Langley who set up the table for distribution, a long-time community activist in Liverpool was the man behind the whole operations convincing passers-by who were initially reluctant to get the masks. “A lot of people are always reluctant to get free stuff because they think we will ask for donations at the end which is not always the case. A few people did not take the masks but an overwhelming majority did which was good” Mr Langley concluded.
Citizen Outreach Coalition is a small Liverpool based charity and has been existing for five years now.