A “Buy One Give One” campaign is helping give masks to homeless people shut out of services by government mask mandates.
For every box of surgical masks sold by St John Ambulance NSW until February 15, they’ll donate a box back to those who need it most.
The “Buy One, Give One” boxes were launched in response to government mask mandates, St John Ambulance NSW told news.com.au. The charity said the measures have affected homeless people, who can’t always afford to access masks.
The public health measures can stop them from being able to enter supermarkets and using public transport.
“Providing those experiencing homelessness with face masks will not only help to minimise their chance of contracting COVID-19 and other illnesses, but also empower them with more freedom to move around safely,” Sarah Lance, St John Ambulance NSW CEO said.
The donated boxes will go to needy groups including homeless shelters and food banks.
More than 116,000 people experience homelessness every night in Australia, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made these people particularly vulnerable.
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Homeless people struggle to find the means to purchase face masks, can’t always practice social distancing, and have nowhere to self-isolate, St John Ambulance NSW said.
Ms Lance said the initiative can provide help to the most needy people in our community.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for us all, but especially for people who don’t have the means to protect themselves,” she said.
“Australia’s homeless are some of the most at-risk during the pandemic, and yet are so often overlooked.
“It’s never been so important to look out for those in need, and with St John Ambulance NSW’s ‘Buy One, Give One,’ initiative, protecting yourself and others can be as simple as purchasing a small box of face masks.”
The boxes of 50 surgical face masks are available now via stjohnnsw.com.au, or by calling 1300 ST JOHN.