Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Officers distribute face mask donations across county


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Ironwood - What started as a donation of handmade face-masks from a few residents to the Ironwood Public Safety Department, has become a countywide effort to distribute masks to any household that needs/wants them.

According to IPSD Director Andrew DiGiorgio, they have received more than 800 masks from area businesses and residents.

"They've really stepped up and made quite a few masks available for free," DiGiorgio said. "So what we did is we took on the responsibility of delivering them cause we didn't want people coming to the station or seeking them out."

The project has grown to the point that the Gogebic County Sheriff's Department is also involved in distributing the masks.

Originally, IPSD was posting the donations on Facebook for people to call and request them. Now, DiGiorgio said they have so many people wanting them that, whenever they do get donations they are already spoken for.

"They brought us 50 (Friday), but they are basically all accounted for," DiGiorgio said. "As they drop them off we are just delivering them to various residents in our communities."

Officials are delivering the masks to residents that call IPSD and request them as soon as the masks are available, but they are limiting them to two masks per household.

"We tried to limit it so that we could spread it out to more households," DiGiorgio said.

When delivering masks to residents, the officer practices social distancing protocol and wears a mask. Contact with residents is limited, officers generally place the masks on residents porches, mailboxes or other designated location for the resident to retrieve, but occasionally the resident is home to receive it.

"It means a lot to us. It really does mean a lot, because I have COPD and so does my husband," said Karen Kreiner of Ironwood, who received masks from IPSD on Friday. "You can't find them at the stores, so it is a godsend for us to have them for when we have to go out and about."

"It's been such a great service and a great donation to the community and we thought we could do our part, by doing the curbside delivery so people don't have to leave their home," said DiGiorgio. "So as long as the Stay Home, Stay Safe order is in place, we really want to encourage that."

The masks have been in such a high demand by residents throughout Gogebic County, the Sheriff's Department is delivering masks outside of Ironwood. Demand has been high, according to Undersheriff Ross Solberg.

"If we have 50, they are gone in like 30 minutes," said Solbrerg.

Residents of Gogebic County who desire a mask can contact IPSD at 906-932-1234.

IPSD has also been receiving food donations for local food pantries, and also delivering meals from the school to children whose parents can't get to the school to pick it up.

"We have to do whatever we can to help the well-being of our community because it is a difficult time," DiGiorgio said.

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