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90,000 cloth face masks being given out by Highmark

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Ken Mammarella
Ken Mammarella is a freelance writer who lives in Wilmington.

Highmark face mask

About 90,000 cloth face masks are being given out to Delawareans by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware, as part of its multi-pronged approach to help confront the pandemic.

“A free face mask on us,” Highmark says in the flyer that accompanies the masks mailed to “at-risk and vulnerable” customers. Highmark did not respond to the question of how much it is spending on 1.3 million masks for people in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“Our first distribution in Delaware was in May during EMS Appreciation Week,” said Denée Crumrine, corporate communications manager for Highmark Delaware. The total: 2,500 masks.

“We partnered with the United Way to get coverings out to the organizations and communities that are in most need.”

 

That’s not all that Highmark has been giving out.

At the end of September, it announced that it’s donating 11,500 face coverings to Delaware nonprofits that will distribute them to communities in need.

West End Neighborhood House in Wilmington received 1,000 masks. “We now have the breathing room to provide additional protection for West End’s staff, volunteers and customers,” said Paul Calistro, executive director.

Highmark sent kits to school districts across Delaware that include face coverings, face shields, disinfectant hand wipes, one-gallon pumps of hand sanitizer and resource guides.

West End Neighborhood House masks
West End Neighborhood House was given 1,000 masks.

A special grant cycle is under way to hand out $1 million in its BluePrints for the Community fund, managed by the Delaware Community Foundation. Applications focusing on “the economic and social conditions that influence health” are due Oct. 21.

In September, the fund gave out more than $1.1 million to nine Delaware nonprofits. They are the Bayhealth Foundation, for its family medicine residency; the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, for its community health worker collaborations; the Delaware Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement, for its impaired driving simulator program; Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s, for expanding it continuum of care program; Mental Health Association in Delaware, for community education and training; Pressley Ridge Delaware, for expanding its foster youth returning home program; St. Francis Foundation, for its enhanced ambulance services; the University of Delaware, for Veterans & College Athletes Together; and the YMCA, for its LiveStrong cancer support program.

 

Earlier this year, the fund gave out $1.3 million to ten organizations, $200,000 to two Delaware COVID-19 funds and $196,000 to 13 other organizations.

“Highmark remains committed to keeping as many people as possible safe and healthy during the ongoing pandemic,” said Nick Moriello, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware.

“Our nonprofits continue to provide important services and resources, and we want to make sure they are able to do so safely, as well as ensure folks throughout our state are equipped with face coverings.”


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