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Groups Seek Volunteers To Help Prep Personal Protective Equipment For Distribution In East Austin

A woman wears a face mask and protective gloves.
Gabriel C. Pérez
Community groups will distribute more than $200,000 worth of personal protective equipment, like face masks, to Black and Brown communities Feb. 20.

Community groups including the Black Leaders Collective, Del Valle Community Coalition and Austin Latino Coalition are gearing up to distribute more than $200,000 worth of personal protective equipment to predominantly Black and Brown neighborhoods in East Austin.

The PPE distribution is planned for Saturday, Feb. 20, at nine locations, including Mendez Middle School, Turner Roberts Recreation Center and Guerrero Thompson Elementary. Organizers are hoping to assist 10,000 families with the supplies.

“What we know is that this pandemic has not affected our community equally. The fact is that our Black and Brown communities continue to bear the brunt of the virus,” District 2 Council Member Vanessa Fuentes said at a news conference Thursday. “We saw this when the pandemic first hit our community with access to testing, access to PPE … and we’re seeing it now again with access to the vaccine.”

Ahead of the mass distribution, the groups are asking for the community’s help to separate and organize PPE. A volunteer event is being held Feb. 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Travis County Expo Center. To sign up, go here. An earlier volunteer event for this weekend was canceled because of the weather.

Denise Hernandez with Hustle for the Cause, another participating organization, said they’re “in desperate need for volunteers for this weekend” as well as the following weekend at distribution sites.

Got a tip? Email Jerry Quijano at Follow him on Twitter@jerryquijano.

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Updated: February 13, 2021 at 8:57 AM CST
This story has been updated to note that a volunteer event planned for this weekend has been rescheduled due to inclement weather.
Jerry Quijano is the local All Things Considered anchor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @jerryquijano.
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