'We ran out': More than 1,000 show up for free face masks, hand sanitizer in San Francisco's Tenderloin

ByCornell Barnard via KGO logo
Monday, April 20, 2020
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A big outreach to provide free facemasks and hand sanitizer, two vital tools in the fight against COVID-19, were being handed out to those who needed them at the corner of Jones and Eddy Streets in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood Sunday afternoon.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A big outreach effort was happening in the heart of San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood Sunday.

Facemasks and hand sanitizer, two vital tools in the fight against COVID-19 were being handed out for free to those who needed them at the corner of Jones and Eddy Streets.

Diane Tomasello was trying hers on.

"I only go out grocery shopping, so this comes in handy for me because I can re-wash it," Tomasello said.

Neighbors were also getting info about COVID-19.

RELATED: Here are the Bay Area counties now requiring residents to wear face masks during COVID-19 pandemic

Supervisor Matt Haney was surprised by how many people showed up, the line was long.

"This shouldn't be something people don't have access to, everyone should have one, I'm committed to getting a mask to everyone in this community who needs one," said Supervisor Haney.

Haney is collecting donations to pay for the masks and sanitizer on a. GoFundMe page, he's teamed up with organizations like United Playaz now passing them out.

"We were born and raised in this neighborhood, it's only right we take care of our people so they're not forgotten," said Rudy Corpuz, Jr.

Debra Cooley is feeling safer.

"People around here cough and gag in front of your face," Cooley said.

RELATED: 70 people test positive for COVID-19 at San Francisco's largest homeless shelter

Homeless advocates say people living on the streets can't always protect themselves.

"For people who are housed they can go inside and take off the mask, folks who are homeless don't have that option," said Kelley Cutler from the Coalition on Homelessness.

The city's new mask ordinance requires people to wear a mask in public but not when you're exercising or going for a run.

"Waiting in line to go into a store, inside a store, public transit you're required to wear a mask," said Haney.

Supervisor Haney says volunteers passed out 1,000 masks today but it wasn't enough, they ran out. He says volunteers will be back next weekend passing out thousands more for folks who need them.

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