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'Everyone Needs A Mask': 10-Year-Old Partners With Gwinnett Officials To Help Those In Need

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) --  If you happen to see a 10-year-old kid handing out face masks around Metro Atlanta, you may have witnessed Malon James hard at work.

This Gwinnett County student is the ambassador for Don't Count Me Out, an organization formed in 2016 to help get wrongly incarcerated people out of jail. They also help families in need. Malon is leading the charge for their Everyone Needs A Mask campaign.

"I came out here to help the homeless people, because they can't help themselves," he said. "I actually decided to get up and help people, because this pandemic is not something to mess with."

They received Cares Act funding and work with businesses to buy discounted face masks. Malon says they've given out 10,000 of them for free since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and to anyone who needs or wants them.

Don't Count Me Out is partnering with the Gwinnett County Health Department and Gwinnett Cares, a group formed in response to the pandemic.

"What we were able to do in partnering with Don't Count Me Out is take the masks to the people, versus having the masks in a central location where people had to get to the masks," said Paige Havens, the marketing and community relations director for Gwinnett Cares.

For Malon, community service is nothing new. He's worn many hats during his 10 years in the world. Staff members at Rainbow Community Center, a homeless shelter in Newton County, say they've been on the receiving end of the organization's efforts.

"It's very exciting to have young people to step up, and I know there are others out there, and this young man, I believe he's gonna reach others," said Reverend Clare Lett, the shelter's executive director.

"I feel like I'm really doing something for the people," Malon said.

As the pandemic continues, so do their plans to provide masks wherever there's a need. They plan to apply for state funding to hand them out in rural areas.

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