While our front-line workers are hard at work, it’s important that the rest of us are able to help flatten the curve. One of the recent recommendations includes wearing a mask when leaving the house. commUNITY was founded to allow Canadians access to non-medical face masks to help decrease the spread of COVID-19. This week we spoke to one of their founders, Deanna Burger, on how she’s helping flatten the curve.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
commUNITY provides non-medical face masks to Canadians amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Founded by Deanna Burger (MBA) alongside sister Darby Burger and brother-in-law Colin Final, the organization was founded on the belief that every Canadian should have access to non-medical protective equipment to ensure safety and optimal health. $1.00 from the sale of each mask is donated to Food Banks Canada.
What problem does it aim to solve?
To help stop the spread of COVID19 by providing people with added protection when they venture out of the home. We provide low-cost, non-medical face masks for essential workers and community members
When did you start/join it?
In early April we made the decision to establish the supply chain and launched the website 2 days later. As the we watched Canada prepare and start to deal with the pandemic, we thought we could do something to help community members and essential workers. As the CDC and Dr. Tam recommending wearing non-medical masks when unable to social distance, we realised people were having trouble procuring masks for their friends and family. We wanted to help people protect themselves and their loved ones.
What made you want to get involved?
We are lucky to be able to work from home and adhere to the social distance guidelines. If wearing a mask when you go to the grocery store or LCBO, can help stop the spread, we believe you’re also helping those who may not have the option to work from home. We’ve intentionally kept the price point low in an effort to make it more accessible.
Our communities need support and for this virus to be eradicated, as many are vulnerable. It is important to fight for the people who may not be able to fight for themselves.
What was the situation like when you started?
Deanna and her two-year-old son moved into Darby and Colin’s home with their two kids aged 13 and 10 in April to help our families manage this time. We were following the terrifying news of how the virus swept through Italy. The three of us were feeling helpless as we worked from home and we wondered if we could do something to help our community and the people we love. We struggled to find masks at a lower price point that were not sold out. So, we did some research and hopped to it.
How has it changed since?
We’re still living together as a family 😊
Our families are rallied behind a greater purpose of helping communities protect themselves and be healthy. It’s a great teachable moment for the kids too. We are going through an unprecedented time right now. We feel like wearing a mask and washing your hands we can help stop the spread of this terrible virus.
What more needs to be done?
People need to see themselves as the first line of defense. This is transmitted through regular people doing regular things. We have control and the responsibility to exercise that control. We are all in this together.
How can our readers help?
Wear a mask, every time they venture outside the home. Take proper precautions and launder them after every use. Use a filter for added protection. Our recommendation is to have one to wear and one to wash at a minimum. Do not wear disposable ones more than once.
Do you have any events coming up?
No, but we’ll pop champagne when a vaccine is offered to the global community and this
Where can we follow you?
IG and FB: @communitymasks
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
Deanna was on the board of the Assaulted Women’s Helpline for 7 years which is a hotline for women in crisis, focusing on supporting those experiencing gender-based violence that runs 24/7 in 144 languages. It’s a small team, with huge hearts, dedicated to a topic people don’t want to think or know about