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Volunteer Group Makes Reusable Cloth Masks For Essential Farm Workers

HALF MOON BAY (KPIX 5) -- There's been a lot of attention about first responders and the medical community running short of PPE. But, what about those who put food on our table?

Farm workers are considered essential workers. It is vital to keep them healthy. Wearing a mask on a farm used to be normal, said volunteer Joaquin Jiminez. "They provided mask in the past, you know, for the dust on the farms, you know for some of the allergies of some of the workers but in this case, it's a wholly different thing. It's a virus that's affecting our community."

They call themselves, "The Mamas" - a group of ten women who are sewing reusable cloth mask for the farm workers or anyone else. The effort is organized by Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (Helping Latinos to Dream) or ALAS.

"We started to get a lot of families that were saying that they were scared because they didn't have protection," said ALAS Executive Director Belinda Hernandez.

So far, they have made nearly 1,000 cloth masks. Last Saturday alone, they gave out 200 masks in one day.

Everyone gets a mask. ALAS even gives the owner of the farm a mask, but supplies are running low and they are reaching out for help.

"With a 1,000 masks, we ran out of elastic that we need so ALAS is looking for, ways that you can help is ALAS is looking for elastic if anyone has elastic," said Hernandez. "We call it un respiro de vida which means 'the breath of life.'"

The need is clear. Planting seeds starts next week.

"Anybody can be effected by this," said Jimenez. "This coronavirus, or COVID-19, is not looking into anyone's background or race, you know, or nationality. It's effecting everybody."

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