On a windy yet sunny day, a community-led campaign started distributing free masks to Perry residents at the Perry Fareway.


It was the first of five distribution days that also include Hy-Vee on Sunday (1-4 p.m.), the Perry Elementary and High Schools on Monday (10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.), at the Perry Public Library on Monday (4 p.m. - 7 p.m.) and the Perry Area Food Pantry on Tuesday (10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.).


In a time of dire need community members came together to help support the City of Perry with the mask giveaway.


“It’s something that we can do to help support the community,” said Perry City Administrator Sven Peterson. “We know it’s not 100 percent effective but it will help stop or slow the spread around the community which is what our true goal is. Community health is what we’re aiming for here.”


The movement started with a push by Eddie Diaz, which planted the seed for the arrival of 6,000 free masks for the community.


“Really it started with a phone call from Eddie to me explaining what was trying to be accomplished,” Peterson said. “I said yes right away and we were able to make it happen with some city funds and help from Osmundson, DMACC and hopefully from other incoming community donations to expand this program. I’m hoping that this is just the first wave and that we maybe continue to order more and distribute throughout the community.”


Other committee members include Lynsi Pasutti, with Perry Chamber of Commerce and Mike Thomason, with Dallas County EMS.


Another big component of the operation was the help from TC&B Corporate Wearables out of Perry.


“TC&B Corporate Wearables really helped out as well with this,” said Peterson. “They’re a local company with overseas manufacturing to start making these masks. Very grateful for them to make these masks. It’s also a great opportunity for us to support a local business and the community at the same time.”


Within the Fareway parking lot, the initial day of masks giveaway was a resounding success. That success was shared not just with the committee members, the Dallas County EMS, and TC&B Corporate Wearables, but with other businesses as well. Those other partnerships have had and will continue to have an impact as the city looks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.


“We made sure to join up with these fine organizations where people are already going through,” said Peterson. “Places like Fareway, Hy-Vee and the schools are already doing a lot for this community.”


If someone happened to miss the mask giveaway at Fareway, there are multiple other times available which was an important step already put in by the committee members.


“We wanted to provide different opportunities for people that would fit various different schedules,” said Peterson. “That way everyone has the chance to get a mask. Hopefully we’ll be able to touch up different groups and broaden our reach as much as possible.”


Community members are encouraged to visit the CDC website for more guidance on the use of cloth masks.