A Montreal businessman is on a mission — in his army-style jeep — to equip people with masks.
This initiative came to life to help front-line workers protect themselves, but it has now expanded into handing out masks to the general public.
Since February, M4SK ARMY has given out more than 50,000 masks for adults and children.
“M4SK ARMY shows up in as many places as we can and we are there in case you don’t have a mask,” said Jon Wayne Gurman, owner and founder of M4SK ARMY. “I wish I had more M4SK ARMY jeeps going around so we could give out masks to more people.”
In March, M4SK ARMY handed out masks to front-line workers such as taxi drivers, nurses, truck drivers and more. It started in Montreal but the brand has gone global. The masks sell at Jean Coutu, Giant Tiger, Walmart and Ardene, among other retailers.
“It’s our community first, it’s Canada, and then it’s the world, the U.S. and the United Kingdom,” Gurman said.
Gurman’s daughter Raquel, who is also a designer, said that face coverings should be seen as a sign of hope.
“Everyone should be wearing a mask, masks provide happiness, and it shows that one day everything will be OK,” Raquel Gurman told Global News.
Raquel Gurman is trying to inspire young adults to wear masks.
“My generation, like, you don’t technically see a lot of people wearing masks,” she said. “I think it should be more thrown at them that they should be wearing it. I feel safer around people when they have a mask. I’m sure I’m not the only one.”
H4X, a gaming company and clothing brand, is the parent company of M4ASK ARMY. Gamers at H4X were wearing masks as a fashion trend before COVID-19.
They couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share their products.
“We gave to the hospitals, we gave them to grocery stores, now we are giving them to everyone because now mask are mandatory for everyone,” digital marketer Harrison Truong said.
“The masks are designed in different styles. There are two layers on the outside that are made out of polyester; there’s a third layer that’s inside … to filter some dust or whatever bacteria goes through.”
Jon Wayne Gurman said the children’s masks are just as good as the adult ones.
“Our kids’ masks are the same quality … and we have the best-looking kids masks, the same three-ply quality, and they’re just fantastic”.
M4SK ARMY organizers say they will keep handing masks out until they reach their goal of one million across North America.
“We will continue to provide a mask for everyone who needs one,” Jon Wayne Gurman said. “I see people not wanting to wear a mask. I was wearing masks before COVID hit Quebec. I believe everyone should be wearing a mask. We are all working together to flatten a curve and wearing a mask is one of those ways to do so.”
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