NEWARK, NJ – Nearly 200,000 masks were donated to Newark families in the South Ward this week as part of a local campaign headed by BRICK Education Network to keep residents protected during the pandemic. 

BRICK Education Network, a Black-led charter management organization (CMO), announced that it distributed thousands of masks through its #StayCoveredTogether campaign. The campaign is a citywide initiative spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic which has disproportionately impacted Black and brown communities. 

“BRICK Education Network is committed to helping Newark’s families rebuild from this unprecedented health and economic crisis,” said Tish Johnson-Jones, managing director of External Relations & Communications for BRICK. “BRICK launched the #StayCoveredTogether campaign because our community has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year, and it is critical that we give people the resources they need to protect themselves from this virus.”

Sign Up for Newark Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Almost every home in the South Ward received masks this week, according to BRICK officials. The benchmark donation surpassed the CMO’s initial goal of distributing 100,000 masks by June. 

BRICK was among a handful of non-profit organizations across the nation selected by the Harlem Children’s Zone to participate in the #StayCoveredTogether campaign. The CMO is the only partner organization in the tri-state area and Northeast region that was selected as part of the ongoing pandemic response and recovery efforts. 

In addition to distributing masks, the campaign is also planning to launch digital ads, billboards and mailings to help educate more people about the importance of wearing a mask.

“We worked tirelessly to exceed our goal three months early, however, we know that there is still more work to do to provide our families with the personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer they need to stay safe,” Johnson-Jones said. “That is why we are relaunching this critical campaign and redoubling our efforts to reach as many families as possible.”

The CMO also partnered with local Newark organizations to distribute masks to residents who need them most. Masks were distributed following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines during school and community-wide events. BRICK provides hand sanitizer and educational information about how to safely wear a mask with the masks as well. 

In partnership with the Urban League of Essex County, president and CEO Vivian Fraser Cox explained the importance of the campaign to keep Newarkers safe during the pandemic. 

“Over the last year, we have seen how communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by this deadly virus,” Cox said. “We must all work together to lift each other up during this difficult time, and we look forward to working with BRICK Education Network to help reach our friends and neighbors through this campaign.”

Fore more information about #StayCoveredTogether, click here.