A Portland-based packaging and manufacturing company is stepping up to help local children during the pandemic.

D6 Inc. has sent 3,000 face coverings to be distributed to children in Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook Counties, according to State Sen. Betsy Johnson, who received boxes of the donated masks this week.

The Mask Team

State Sen. Betsy Johnson, right, unloads a box of the children’s face masks at the St. Helens Head Start with the help of St. Helens School District Head Nurse Robin Loper, Columbia County Commissioner Margaret Magruder, in red, and Columbia County Public Health representative Lindsay Elder, left.

Johnson said she consulted with Columbia County Commissioner Margaret Magruder about where the face coverings could best be used.

“She told me to take them to Head Start,” Johnson said.

The medical evidence demonstrates that masks are a way to slow down the transmission of an airborne virus, Johnson said.

“It's awkward enough for adults to wear a mask but if a child is wearing a mask that is clearly built for an adult, it is harder for them to keep it up over their nose and there is a temptation to fuss with it if it doesn’t fit,” she said. “Having kid masks for kid faces made a lot of sense to me and I am very appreciative to D6 to get these masks out to kids.”

Johnson said the masks will also be distributed to children at hospitals and day cares in Tillamook and Clatsop Counties.

Face Coverings

These small boxes contain dozens of children’s face coverings delivered to the St. Helens and Rainier Head Start locations this week.

She joined Magruder, St. Helens School District Head Nurse Robin Loper and Columbia County Public Health representative Lindsay Elder in presenting hundreds of the masks to the Head Start location at St. Helens on Tuesday, Oct. 13. Other masks will be sent to the Rainier Head Start as well.

St. Helens Head Start coordinator Joanne Dodge said the donation is welcomed because the health and safety of children is important.

“This is really going to help support our families to help keep their children safe,” Dodge said. “We are excited about the opportunity to help our families.”

Dodge said while the masks are not required under the state’s pandemic guidelines for the students under age five at Head Start, they are a good support for the students, their siblings and their families.

Head Start is a comprehensive preschool for families with incomes at or below the federal poverty guidelines.

D6 Inc. CEO Edward Dominion said he made the donation after seeing a media report that Multnomah County was short 10,000 children’s masks.

"After reading that story all the partners got together and said we need to help them secure these mask for the kids," Dominion told The Chronicle. "So within 30’ish hours I had 20,000 kids surgical masks air-freighted to our Portland HQ and the next few days we donated them to different parts of the states who needed them for free."

Dominion said he hopes the face masks for children will make a positive difference.

"We just want to help the people who can’t or don’t have access to these products," he said. "With our NIOSH N95 production site coming online in four weeks, we know we will be able to help many more people in need going forward."

Follow daily pandemic updates here online with in-depth reports in the Wednesday print editions of The Chronicle.

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