US charity donates 40,000 masks to Rotary for district's fire relief effort

Sweet charity: Albion Park RFS member Kurt Hill travelled to Picton to pick up some of the P2 face masks for his colleagues. Picture: Supplied
Sweet charity: Albion Park RFS member Kurt Hill travelled to Picton to pick up some of the P2 face masks for his colleagues. Picture: Supplied

Around 40,000 Illawarra and Southern Highlands firefighters, and residents, will be able to breathe easier thanks to a generous donation from a US charity.

Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organisation based in California, has pledged to donate up to 500,000 P2/ N95 masks to Australia - with close to 100,000 flown in for free by Qantas this week.

The charity is working with the Rotary Club of Melbourne to distribute the masks - and almost 40,000 of them were delivered to Picton on Thursday.

From there, they'll be shared with those who need them most across the region - including firefighters, patients with chronic conditions at doctors' surgeries and elderly residents in nursing homes.

Rotary District Governor Dianne North gave thanks to the charity, which will be making further shipments of masks in the coming weeks.

Rotary District Governor Dianne North hands masks over to Picton RFS Inspector David Stimson.

Rotary District Governor Dianne North hands masks over to Picton RFS Inspector David Stimson.

"Direct Relief undertake humanitarian work around the world, and they've reached out to Rotary due to its great network of clubs around the nation," she said.

"The masks will help communities dealing with the hazards of smoke and poor air quality caused by the unprecedented bushfires in south eastern Australia.

"We requested 10 pallets for our district's fire relief effort, and these arrived in Picton on Thursday, where we have a storage facility available.

"Already we've handed out some of these masks to the Balmoral RFS station and recovery centre, and to the Albion Park RFS control centre.

"The rest will go to places like doctors' surgeries and nursing homes, and to those involved in the clean-up efforts."

A Direct Relief representative helped hand out the masks.

A Direct Relief representative helped hand out the masks.

Ms North encouraged other businesses, groups or individuals in need of the masks to contact her on 0429 774 363.

NSW Health has also distributed Commonwealth-provided P2 masks to community pharmacies in the Illawarra Shoalhaven, Southern NSW and Murrumbidgee local health districts. Check availability with your local pharmacy.

This story US charity donates 40,000 masks to Rotary for district's fire relief effort first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.

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