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Inside Mazda

A Grassroots Mask Brigade Provides 14,000 Pieces of PPE to Healthcare Workers

Mazda Cares featuring Tina Lam

This is Mazda Cares. In light of COVID-19, we’re sharing stories of how our Mazda family is coping with (and even combatting) the crisis. Tracing back to our Hiroshima roots, Mazda has a deep history of helping communities in times of need. Our aim is to share stories that highlight our belief that what matters most is one another — because through the power of humanity and community, we can overcome any challenge.

The lack of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) dominated the news and raised the alarm as COVID-19 began spreading throughout the United States. For Tina Lam, Program Manager for Brand Experience, Mazda North American Operations, this news hit too close to home. So, she banded together with friends to make a difference in her community. “This really started because we have friends in the healthcare industry, and they brought it to our attention around week two of the quarantine that their hospitals were running out of PPE. Their exposure was about to get a lot more dangerous,” says Tina. “These people have families and little ones the same age as mine, so it was hard to watch and hear these stories coming in.”

By sourcing donations online, the LA & OC Mask Brigade has been able to send donations, like the bags full of PPE seen above, to local hospitals. You can follow their efforts on Instagram.

Mirroring efforts in the Seattle area, Tina and her friends quickly set up forms online where people could offer donations and where hospitals could let their needs be known. Before long, volunteers were picking up donations and distributing to hospitals in both Los Angeles and Orange County. Initially, they focused on N95 masks that people might have already had at home, but the program has since expanded to include people sourcing and donating surgical masks, isolation gowns, gloves, disposable booties, and face shields — with over 14,000 items donated total. “Our main objective is to fill in the gap until the hospital systems or government, whatever higher power, can distribute accordingly — and we’re getting there. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there.”

Tina shares in Mazda’s deeply held value that what matters most is one another. “It’s always something I’ve lived by,” she says.

In a time of great uncertainty and need, she has found an application of this philosophy that impacts her community in a profound way. “Ultimately in this environment where everything is uncertain and scary, healthcare workers are doing the most they can by caring for others and providing treatment. We can do our part to keep them healthy and safe so they can then go back and do their job.”