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October 21, 2020

Amid the ongoing pandemic, Jennifer and José sat down with their two children to talk about Covid-19. As residents of East Oakland, they knew about the disproportionate impact of the disease on their city, particularly among Latinx communities in the neighboring Fruitvale District. They began talking about these disparities and knew they wanted to do something to help.

That’s when 10-year-old Giles got online and, after several internet searches, learned about La Clínica. He read about La Clínica’s free Covid-19 community testing and the family knew they wanted to support this work.

During shelter-in-place orders, the family learned how to make face masks and the new skill seemed to perfectly suit the moment: they decided they would make masks and raise money for La Clínica.

So, they got to work.

The family had colorful fabrics they had bought at past Fruitvale Día de Los Muertos Festivals and decided to use it for their masks. Each member of the family managed a different component of the production. Giles and his 12-year-old sister Amelia cut the mask outlines from the fabrics and attached the mask strings. Jennifer worked the sewing machine. José was the social media guy.

family masks for La Clinica #3After the first batch of masks was done, José made a post on Nextdoor, a social network for neighborhood communities, which got their neighbors to support. He also made a post on Facebook that had a much further reach. From Washington DC to Washington State, his friends across the country, and across California, were interested in contributing. Soon their house became a mask-making enterprise.

The masks they made came in varied patterns and sizes such as kids, medium, and large. They were designed to have a close fit on the face but still be breathable. They also included PM2.5 filters as an added defense against both wildfire smoke and coronavirus.

family masks for La Clinica #2In addition to selling the masks online, the family also went out three times a week to sell masks to the public. In the end, they sold 174 masks and donated the remaining 26 to La Clínica. Their new family skill had helped them raise $2,500 for communities in need.

As they reflect on this experience, they all happily remember their favorite part. Amelia enjoyed being the bookkeeper and keeping tally of all the masks and donations.

Giles enjoyed being the salesperson. On the days they’d sell to the public, Giles would engage people and explain the distinctive features of the masks and share that they were raising funds for La Clínica.

José loved getting the word out about his family’s endeavor. And Jennifer most enjoyed working with the fabrics which she found incredibly beautiful.

La Clínica is grateful to Jennifer, José, Amelia and Giles for their talent and generosity. Their contributions make our work possible. Thank you for coming together as a family to support other families in need.

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