Brooklyn-based non-profit helps workers in Guatemala by making face masks for pandemic
Buy a mask, give a mask. It is a simple concept that is helping in so many ways, and one Brooklyn organization is helping make it happen.
Companies are working quickly to make masks, including Mercado Global, a Brooklyn-based non-profit social enterprise. However, their mission is different.
“We help indigenous women in rural Latin America build community businesses that they own and then connect to the international fashion industry,” says Ruth Alvarez-Degolia, of Mercado Global.
For years they have been producing handbags and accessories for some big labels, and when the pandemic hit New York City, the staff in Guatemala wanted to help.
With some donated fabric from Levi Strauss, they were on a mission to make masks.
They shipped 8,000 to front-line workers just in March, and thousands more to other parts of the country including to migrant workers.
The payoff helps many. The organization says when someone gets a mask these women get a paycheck, being able to work in their homes during the pandemic.
“The whole economy in Guatemala is really shut, completely shut down, and so the need, the need for income is higher than ever,” says Alvarez-Degolia.
Masks can also be purchased on their website for $15 and include different styles and sizes, including a racial justice mask.
“Sales of that mask fund us to donate more masks to BLM BK,” says Alvarez-Degolia.