Mask Giveaway Aids Hundreds of Residents

Mask Giveaway Aids Hundreds of Residents

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Helping with the free mask giveaway Wednesday in Ocean City are (from left) County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland, SOAR Church Pastor Thomas Dawson, Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, Mayor Jay Gillian, Police Chief Jay Prettyman, Perry Mays, City Business Administrator George Savastano, Michael Allegretto, co-organizer Alex Bland, Police Officer Brian Liess and Councilman Tom Rotondi. (Photos courtesy of Crystal Brown)

By TIM KELLY

Free, quality cloth facemasks were distributed to hundreds of people in Ocean City and throughout Cape May County on Wednesday, through the hard work and generosity of the SOAR Church and local volunteers.

“People were happy to receive the masks,” said New Jersey Assemblyman Antwan McClellan of Ocean City, a former longtime member of City Council. “It was a very successful event.”

Organizers said well over 100 people received the masks, including residents of Pecks Beach Village and Ocean City’s senior citizen housing.

The event also brought out a number of government officials, including Mayor Jay Gillian, Councilman Tom Rotondi, Police Chief Jay Prettyman and City Business Administrator George Savastano, among others.

The lead sponsor for the event was the Baptist Resource Network and SOAR Church, led by Pastor Thomas Dawson and represented in Ocean City and other locations in the county by numerous volunteers.

McClellan said the free masks helped those in need to worry about one less thing during the COVID-19 crisis, especially families preparing their children to go back to school, virtually or in person.

“Face masks are an essential part of back-to-school supplies,” he said. “For families, particularly those with more than one kid in school, the expense of masks can add up. This event made it possible for folks to have one less thing to worry about and one less thing to buy. Some of these folks have been impacted financially by the crisis.”

Brenda Green, a resident of Ocean City’s senior citizen housing, reacts as she receives free masks from members of the event committee.

The Ocean City event was held in conjunction with the Ocean City Housing Authority. Alex Bland, chairman of the Cape May County NAACP, was another co-organizer of the event.

In addition to Ocean City, free mask giveaways were held in Rio Grande, Wildwood, Woodbine and Lower Township.

“Through the efforts of Pastor Dawson and his church and the Baptist Resource Network, this event made things just a bit easier for folks who are struggling through this time of crisis,” McClellan concluded.