project leader
Susan K
Pittsburgh Equality Center
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November Update

the project

The Pittsburgh MasQUe ProjecT connects trans and queer (LGBTQIA) folx from Pittsburgh to face mask sources that are safe and affirming. This includes a vetted list of vendors and direct distribution of donated masks. We distribute 2 masks per month to each household member. 

Masks come from a variety of sources, including our volunteer 'sewists' and partners such as Global Links. We try to provide each person a mass produced mask and a handmade mask to give them variety and choices for their day to day needs. We also use volunteers to drive "no contact" delivery routes, pack the masks into individual sealed bags, and prepare the mailings for masks. 

We #masqueup the entire household because this is a communicable virus. 

the steps

This project is oingoing since April 2020.

First, we need to ensure our supply of masks and mask making materials. We work with the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse to obtain materials for our sewists. We also try to purchase masks from trans and queer owned small businesses when possible. Hand in hand with this, we need the mask 'packing' supplies - small ziploc bags, brown paper lunch sacks, gloves, tape, etc. 

Second, we have to prepare the "mailers" - masks being sent via USPS to folk. This involves the bags as well as envelopes and labels, weighing the packages, paying for postage, and shipping. 

Finally, we have ongiong efforts to inform people of this project and encourage them to enroll. As the pandemic continues to have economic and social impact, we anticipate our list growing. There are no financial guidelines; the most masked people we help, the better for everyone. 

why we're doing it

It is important to understand that 70% of Pennsylvanians live in communities without non-discrimination protections. In Western PA, only Allegheny and Erie counties have these protections meaning in 24 counties plus most of the rest of the Commonwealth, it is legal to refuse to sell a face mask to someone because they are trans, lesbian, bi, queer, etc. 

If business owners are willing to go to the Supreme Court to defend their rights to deny wedding cakes to same sex couples, how far would they go in regard to denying us life saving medical equipment? It a lived reality that most of navigate everyday as a matter of our  existence. Add to this  the relentless assault of vitriol and hate targeting Dr. Rachel Levine, the Secretary of Health for Pennsylvnia and you have a social mix that is uneven at best for people navigating these types of purchases. And there is the economic factor as so many of our community members have lost or will be losing their income sources. 

The City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County have protections, but it is frequently the case that we cross those borders to make a purchase. 



For a six month period.

Preparing & packing masks for distribution - $2400

Purchasing masks & materials - $5000

Postage & shipping supplies - $1500

Promotions - $1000

TOTAL RAISED = $10,152.00 $70,259.00
ioby Platform Fee waived $35.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $154.56 $1,956.72
TOTAL TO DISBURSE= $9,997.44 $68,267.28


For a six month period.

Preparing & packing masks for distribution - $2400

Purchasing masks & materials - $5000

Postage & shipping supplies - $1500

Promotions - $1000

ioby Platform Fee waived
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
TOTAL TO RAISE = $10,152
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.  


November Update

I've been amiss in posting updates because I'm too busy begging people to donate! 

A lot has happened this past month.

We've begun working with local gay bars to distribute masks to their customers and staff on a regular basis. This is consistent with the imperative to meet people where they are. Keeping the community safe means going where the community is. Fortunately, we have a volunteer who has offered to handle the delivery on a regular basis. 

We are also trying to get masks to the Play It Forward project to include in the toy boxes they prepare for 400 families. Play It Forward is very very queer competent so we are pleased to be able to repay them for their support these past ten years. 

We are part of a team of LGBTQ orgs working together to coordinate a food drive for LGBTQ households in partnership with 412 Food Rescue. 

Our comrades at Operation Face Mask Pittsburgh have wrapped up and they passed along a lot of stuff to us - fabric, bags, masks, and so much more. 

We had a modest test run of a face mask drive that gives me hope for 2021. 

We are working with Global Links and Markowitz Communications to develop a regional "wear your mask" effort. 

Hopefully, we'll wrap this up in the next day or so. Once it is done, we can put it in the bank to use for 2021 and focus on distribution. 

I'm tired thinking about all of this. 



7700 masks

We've distributed about 7700 masks to folks all over Western Pennsylvania. 

Face Masks

 "Face masks are the most important, powerful public health tool we have," said Redfield in a Senate hearing on Sept. 16. "I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine."



Masks are the most important powerful public health tool we have. 

"I'm not going to comment directly about the president, but I am going to comment as the CDC director that face masks, these face masks, are the most important powerful public health tool we have," Redfield said. "And I will continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings."

That's the Director for the CDC addressing Congress. Masks are the most important powerful public health tool we have.

We've exceeded 40% of our goal with 11 days remaining. 

Can you invest in the most important powerful public health tool we have?





This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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