Black Belt Community Foundation’s Operation Face Mask aids 12 Alabama counties

Black Belt Community Foundation’s Operation Face Mask aids 12 Alabama counties
Bullock County Commissioner Alonzo Ellis holds a face mask donated by the Black Belt Community Foundation to people in 12 counties. The BBCF assessed the needs of counties in its service area by connecting with county commissioners and probate judges across the region. (Daron Harris/Black Belt Community Foundation)
Gwen Blevins of the Black Belt Community Foundation unpacks masks for distribution. (Daron Harris/BBCF)

With a goal of providing 50 million nonmedical face masks to members of vulnerable and marginalized communities nationally, leaders of Until We Do It knew they had found the right organization when they became aware of the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF) and its efforts in spearheading COVID-19 crisis relief in Alabama’s Black Belt region.

Active in serving 12 counties of the Alabama Black Belt – Bullock, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, and Wilcox counties – with a dedicated coalition of BBCF Community Associates already in place, BBCF quickly connected with county commissioners and probate judges from each county to ascertain local need of face masks for the general public.

Last week, BBCF distributed 7,500 face masks to the counties based on their populations. The type of masks distributed aren’t the PPE used for frontline responders and health care workers, but rather the type that is ideal for wear by members of the public in their day-to-day activities. The masks were made possible by partners at Bella Canvas who are dedicated to supporting communities in need and have prioritized manufacturing to create masks.

“The Black Belt Community Foundation’s commitment to serving their 12 counties so holistically made them a natural fit to partner with us at Until We Do It,” said Kristen Gillis, founding member. “Their deep reach into these communities, and more specifically the marginalized population, provided a clear distribution network to support our donation. We look forward to our continued work together to strengthen these communities.”

BBCF President Felecia Lucky said that her organization is thankful for the outpouring of support from different organizations and donors looking for ways to help in the Black Belt. “We are thankful that our 16 years of hard work in assembling an effective network of BBCF community associates across the 12 counties can be brought to bear quickly to help those who need it most,” Lucky said.

During its 16-year history, the BBCF has been awarded more than $5 million in grants to support more than 450 community-led initiatives across the Black Belt.

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