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Town Council Heads Up Mask Program for Topangans

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New Topanga Mask Program to Aid Topanga's Most Vulnerable Residents, Caregivers & Frontline Volunteers
Article posted:  April 24, 2020, 5:00 p.m.

In cases of emergency, Topanga neighbors have always come to the aid of others in need.  And this time is no different.  Spearheaded by the Topanga Town Council, very talented volunteer sewers created special masks for residents who are exceptionally vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19---Topanga's most vulnerable seniors, their caregivers, and those working on the front-line in the canyon. Here is how it all got started---The Topanga Way:

The Town Council saw a need for Topangans to better protect themselves and each other from the virus, so in mid-March they began acquiring supplies to start a homemade mask making campaign, since N95 masks were impossible to find.  Finding supplies at that time proved to be challenging. Initially, the masks were made from repurposed cotton bed sheets and other gently used clothing material.  Office fasteners were used for bendable nose guards and shoe lace material for ties.  Since then, colorful batik fabrics and bandanas have been found, and form-fitting elastic ties help better secure the mask to the face.  Finding and securing materials was like being on a crazy scavenger-hunt!

The fabric masks are 2-layered, and feature a special pocket for a removable and disposable MERV 14/15 filter (according to a report, the filter can block 90% or more of 0.3 sized particulates).  Once the disposable filters run out, the reusable cloth masks can be worn independently.  And, the mask can also be used with a charcoal filter during fire/smoke events.

After the materials were obtained from far and wide, it was time to make the masks. Stacy Sledge of the Town Council, made a phone call to a friend and long-time Topanga volunteer Karla Morrision, who said she would love to help in this special effort. Karla then called another super volunteer Karen Dannenbaum. Together they designed the masks. Karen subsequently hooked up several more amazing sewers, and created a great online video demonstrating the sewing instructions for the new volunteers. Over half of the 150 masks have now been delivered to residents, all with loving hands by Topanga's big-hearted sewers and other dedicated volunteers. 

Karens masks min
Photo: Mask package includes 1 mask, filters and instructions

Stacy cutting min 1   July cutting mask filters min
Photo: Volunteers, Stacy Sledge and Julio Valenzuela cut 2500 filters to go inside the mask packages.

The next step was to enroll other residents to help locate those needing a mask. The Town Council connected with the volunteers at Canyon Sages senior organization and the Topanga Community Center, and a plan of distribution was developed and implemented.  Stacy Sledge says, "It took a lot of people joining forces to make all this happen and we are very greatful to all those incredible people who continue to donate their time, talent, and colorful fabric." 

Among other mask deliveries to seniors, disabled, front-line volunteers, and homeless individuals, the Topanga Town Council has dropped off two dozen reusable masks to the Topanga Post Office so its employees, who have direct contact with residents and businesses, have protection for themselves and a way protect the community.

Postmaster Mabel Christie Coid mask delivery min

Photo:  Topanga Postmaster Mabel Christie and staff is use to delivering packages to the community.  But on April 23rd, the post office was the recipient of a special delivery of their own---protective masks for all!

Do you know someone who is exceptionally vulnerable to being exposed to the virus and could use a mask, or who could benefit from other critical services---meal delivery, virus testing, emotional support?  Then, Let's Connect! 

Email the Town Council at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call: 310-455-3001, ext 0.  Council members Carrie Carrier and Alisa Land Hill will be happy to connect residents to special programs offered by Los Angeles County and deliver a mask.  When leaving a message, be sure to leave your name and contact information. 

Please note:  Any type of mask is merely one step among others that may protect a resident and Topanga from disease spread.  Masks should be used in conjunction with social distancing and hand washing to minimize exposure to the virus.

A very special thank you to all who have participated in our mask making project:  Sewers - Karla Morrison, Karen Dannenbaum, Victoria Nichols, Sara Traband, Miyumi Dennis, Sharon Fiegelman, Linda Bolhuis.  Distribution - Susan Clark, Cecilie Stuart, Kristine Sloan.  And thank you to Topanga Community Center volunteers and Kristina Rocco for promoting the masks with their deliveries!

Covid 19 Community Reachout Sheet 1up copy

A very special thank you to the many who have given so much to this effort:

MASK SEWERS:  Karen Dannenbaum, Karla Morrison, Linda Bolhuis, Victoria Nichols, Nancy Hanson, Karen Sherwood, Sharon Fliegelman, Sara Traband
FILTER CUTTERS, MASK ASSEMBLERS, AND BAG STUFFERS:  Julio Valenzuela, Vincent Baldino, Stacy Sledge, Dan Hanrahan, Dawn Cornwell
SPECIAL DELIVERY VOLUNTEERS:    Kristine Sloan, Cecilie Stuart, Terri Mansour, Kristina Rocco, Susan Clark, and Canyon Sage/TCC grocery shoppers
TOWN COUNCIL BOARD MEMBERS:  Carrie Carrier, Alisa Land Hill, Lindsay Zook, Stacy Sledge 

DONATE: If you would like to donate to this cause, please make your check payable to:  Topanga Town Council, PO Box 1085, Topanga, CA  90290.  A donation of any amount will help fund this project and is appreciated.

For updates on the virus situation and services offered in Los Angeles County, go to OneTopanga.com, click here.

Stay well!

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