Eastern Michigan University partners with the City of Ypsilanti to provide 2,500 masks to community members in need of PPE

Partnership is part of Engage@EMU PPE project, a broad effort started in March 2020 to make supplies for area healthcare professionals, front-line organizations and others battling the COVID-19 crisis

masking cloth masks

YPSILANTI — To ensure those living and working in Ypsilanti have access to PPE in the form of cloth face masks, Eastern Michigan University’s Engage@EMU PPE project has committed to producing 2,500 masks for the City of Ypsilanti to be distributed to those in need of them.

“The Engage@EMU PPE project began based on community want and need,” said Juliane Vogl, Engage@EMU project coordinator. “By utilizing resources and expertise from EMU faculty, staff and students, we’ve been able to provide PPE, including cloth face masks and plastic face shields to intubation boxes and more, to numerous healthcare professionals since the project began. We are now honored to expand the program to directly help the City of Ypsilanti residents with their PPE needs.”

Of the 2,500 masks, 625 will be youth sized, while the remaining 1,875 will be standard adult sized. Those interested in requesting face masks can visit the City of Ypsilanti’s COVID-19 informational webpage for instructions on how to submit a request.

“Protecting our Ypsilanti residents is our number one priority on City Council,” said Annie Somerville, Ypsilanti City Council Member for Ward 3. “Once we heard that many residents in the City of Ypsilanti are still struggling to find face masks to wear when they go out in public, we immediately started exploring different options that could help us get hand-made masks into the hands of those who still need them—without purchasing PPE from the larger supply chains meant for essential workers.”

“We’re always looking for ways to partner with EMU,” stated Nicole Brown, Ypsilanti City Council Member for Ward 1. “Once we realized how large the Engage@EMU PPE Project efforts were, approaching them about buying masks for our residents was a natural solution.”

The Engage@EMU PPE Project expects to have the 2,500-mask order for the City fulfilled by the second week in June, with the potential for more to be purchased and given out to fulfill additional needs of residents.

In the weeks since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Engage@EMU PPE project has been hard at working with the help of EMU faculty, staff, students and community partners to create various pieces of PPE equipment for local medical professionals and others in need of PPE.

Added collaborations with Julie Becker, an EMU associate professor and interim director for the School of Technology and Professional Services Management, and Holly Mosher, EMU lecturer in the Fashion Marketing Innovation program, as well as students from the applied textiles program, have been instrumental in allowing the Engage@EMU PPE project to scale up and to provide PPE to the City of Ypsilanti and other entities.

The Engage@EMU project has also expanded to include providing PPE to EMU essential staff, Michigan Medicine, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell’s staff, and local businesses, including Sidetrack Bar & Grill.

For more information on Engage@EMU or their PPE Project efforts, please visit the organization’s website.  

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves nearly 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

May 20, 2020

Written by:
Morgan Mark

Morgan Mark