My goal is to raise at least $1,000 to cover the cost of air masks for people in need in Vancouver. Over the last several years Vancouver has experienced increasingly longer "Smoke Season" - a period of time, usually in August where the city is covered in a haze from forest fires. The BC Non-profit Housing Association has also prepared this session on preparation for Extreme Heat and Poor Air Quality.
Last year Vancouver and the lower mainland experienced a total of 22 days under air quality advisories in 2018, and 19 in 2017 - on these days everyone feels the impact, but this haze is especially dangerous to people like myself who suffer from Asthma, or other breathing disorders, and is especially hard on the young and elderly. Unfortunately one other group that is at risk are the homeless, and my goal is to provide a supply of masks to organizations that can help distribute them.
The money will be used to purchase N95 vented respiration masks. In order to be cost effective, rather than distributing expensive reusable masks we will focus on providing single use masks, either 3M 8511 vented respirators, or a comparable mask. While these masks are single use, as any home renovation or contractor knows, with care they can last for multiple uses, and it is easier to provide multiple low cost masks over the summer rather than a single, more expensive mask which could be lost, stolen or damaged.
Buying the masks is easy, but getting them to the people who need them can be challenging, so I have approached several organizations to help distribute them. So far, two organizations, the Strathcona Community Policing Centre and the First United Church Emergency Shelter have agreed to help distribute these masks to the folks they work with in need.
Twice over the last four years, despite living in high quality housing, and having access to air filters and other tools, I have had to make visits to an emergency room, and this year the "Smoke Season" started early - on May 29th we had our first smokey day due to forest fires in Alberta. While they have subsided, it is a hint of what to expect this summer.
To this end, we hope to complete this fundraiser by the end of June to make sure that these - potentially lifesaving - masks can be in the hand so of the people who need them in July and August.
I would be very grateful for any help that you can provide in making sure that these masks get to the folks who need them - if you can give, please do, and if you can't please share the link on social media.