Denver startup studio launches initiative to donate masks to homeless shelters
All of the initiative's profits will go the the America Hospital Association's 100 Million Mask Challenge
Saturn Five, a Denver-based startup studio, launched face2face, a new initiative to curb the spread of COVID-19 by getting surgical masks into the hands of people who can afford to buy them, as well as those who can’t. The initiative gives one surgical mask to a homeless shelter for every mask consumers purchase and will give 100% of its profits to the American Hospital Association’s 100 Million Mask Challenge – an effort to increase the production and distribution of PPE to healthcare workers.
Low-income communities and those experiencing homelessness in America’s cities are at particular risk of infection, as there’s great difficulty in adhering to social distancing guidelines in homeless shelters, especially those in large cities. As of mid-April, there have been 460 positive cases and at least 27 deaths among New York City’s homeless population of more than 60,000. In San Francisco, an outbreak in a shelter led to more than 100 positive cases, including 10 of the shelter’s staff members.
“This virus is an overwhelming foe – especially for the homeless population at a time of near-record levels for the homeless crisis,” says Max Anderson, founder and CEO of Saturn Five and face2face. “Studies show disposable medical masks can be up to 2.5 time more effective than cloth masks, and with face2face, your impact is doubled.”
face2face has already sold 135,000 masks to consumers. They are prioritizing its first shipment of 65,000 masks to homeless shelters, including – in the Denver area – the St. Francis Center, Denver Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army Intermountain Division; and farther from home, its shipping to The Bowery Mission in New York City and City Hope in San Francisco.
Saturn Five, which has funded and help build companies like ICON, the 3D printed house startup, also announced the launch of a separate initiative, Saturn Five Health, a wholesale sourcing opportunity to get N95 and other high-quality personal protective equipment (PPE) to medical workers.