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Operation PPE Tucson working to make a difference one mask at a time

Posted at 6:18 AM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 09:32:00-04

Cassandra Jensen and her sister in law, Erin, are putting together bags of masks ready to go out in our community to help those risking their lives every day.

"So I decided to start a Facebook page just to see if anybody might be interested in helping sow masks in the community and the response we got was just really overwhelming," said Erin.

"We have folks out at Davis Monthan, Picture Rocks, up at Catalina," Cassandra said.

Both women say the Facebook group just started three and half weeks ago and now it's grown into an incredible movement called Operation PPE Tucson.

"People are cutting, prepping, sewing, ironing doing everything around the clock to give this masks out to our health care workers," said Cassandra.

Erin knows first hand what it's like working on the frontlines of this crisis. She's a nurse in a local emergency room and says her colleagues are like a second family to her.

"Just the thought of them or any of our health care workers not being able to do their job properly because they're not protected was just really kind of heartbreaking for us," said Erin.

At least 5,000 masks are being passed out to hospitals and first responders.

To make it all possible, Operation PPE Tucson relies purely on donations and volunteers. Cassandra says any money donated goes to buying medical materials like filters.

"We're taking them apart and cutting them. One filter yields roughly 100 filters give or take and then our masks are designed to have a slit at the bottom or top so this filter can slip in and add that extra layer of protection to the fabric masks," Cassandra explains.

The work that goes into each mask is inspiring. Cassandra says volunteers are putting in 10 to 12 hour days.

"I've never been more inspired in my life and more honored to be a part of a project. i just want to say thank you to the whole group of people. You guys are appreciated. We love you all so much."

To learn more about Operation PPE Tucson, how to get involved or where you can donate, click here for a look at their website.