Manasquan holds mask drive to aid in supply shortage

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Kevin McCredie places donated masks with help of second assistant foreman Peter Mayer, the IV, during Friday's mask collection at the Manasquan High School. PHOTO BY SARAH BLOOM

MANASQUAN — Manasquan collected more than 800 respirator masks last week in an effort to support nurses, doctors and first responders working at the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The masks will be delivered to two local hospitals to help alleviate the shortage of personal protective equipment [PPE] needed to keep nurses and doctors safe while caring for their patients.

“They did a phenomenal job,” Chris Tucker, the borough’s emergency management coordinator, said, adding that Councilman Rich Read spearheaded the drive.

“It was tremendously successful and with limited lead time, for what we were trying to get done, we had a lot of people participating and supporting what we’re doing,” Mr. Read said.

He said residents, medical offices and those working in construction trades came out to donate their new, unused masks over the course of the four-day drive.

Masks were then donated to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune and Ocean Medical Center in Brick.

Mr. Read said both locations were grateful to receive additional masks during the supply shortage and an emergency room doctor even sent him a note that “said to expect each mask to save one to two lives.”

He said the need for more masks became apparent to him after speaking with Mr. Tucker and listening to state and federal government officials talk about the shortage of PPE — a shortage that is only anticipated to get worse as more testing is done and more cases are confirmed positive.

Healthcare workers “dive in everyday, with no trepidation whatsoever,” Mr. Read said. “They’re really sacrificing and putting forth the effort to help get a handle on this.

“They jump right in and they come back everyday knowing the risk that’s involved … it’s the least we can do to help them,” he added.

Mr. Read noted that no donation is too small to be appreciated, and while healthcare workers prefer N95 masks he said at this point they will use any mask because something is better than nothing.

“Packages of two [masks] are just as well received as packages of 50,” he said. “Everything goes a long way.”

Mr. Read said he is planning to set up another collection site soon, but in the meantime, anyone who would like to donate can contact him at 732-904-7690 or coachrread@gmail.com.

“I think until the government gets this mass production ramped up and gets the delivery system [in place] … we can continue to do this,” Mr. Read said.

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