Group hands out masks on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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NEWBURGH – Members of the community organization IMPACT Inc. (Individuals Making Positive Advancements in their Communities Together) and other volunteers drove around the city to hand out masks to members of the community in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Following a short prayer at the MLK memorial on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, a handful of volunteers took to their vehicles to hand out masks. The masks were funded through the Hudson River Presbytery’s Self Development of People grant.

IMPACT was awarded approximately $10,000 through this grant for various COVID-related efforts according to IMPACT Executive Director Damien Depauw.

Each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, IMPACT honors his life and work by using the holiday to facilitate a community service effort. In previous years, IMPACT had helped Habitat for Humanity paint the Newburgh Ministry Homeless Shelter and during another year, created the STAR program, a program that allows community donors to leave a food voucher, attached with a personalized message, at participating establishments for anyone in need to go in and redeem.

Depauw said this year, he could think of no greater service to honor MLK than to provide protective masks to the community during the scourge of the pandemic.

“I mean, you see the numbers in the news of how many people have passed from COVID and right now we’re at an all-time high,” said Depauw. “I can’t think of anything more pressing than to hand out masks and spread the word that people really need to be careful and mask up,” he said.

Depauw added that, in his experience, non-mask wearers within the community have been very receptive to accepting the donated masks.

IMPACT has given out over 8,000 masks, along with other PPE, to the Newburgh community and estimate that from the beginning of the Pandemic to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there have been close to 16,000 masks distributed.