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Program delivers masks, COVID-19 info for NY farmworkers

Cornell Farmworker Program
New York State
Woman outside wearing a colorful facemark. Provided by Cornell Farmworker Program

More than 55,000 farmworkers across New York play critical roles sustaining the local and global food supply. Many of these essential workers–who often live in close quarters and work side by side–have continued to work without face masks, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. To help protect farmworkers and slow the virus’s spread in rural New York, the Cornell Farmworker Program is mobilizing local support to make and distribute face masks across the state. “Farmworkers are essential to our health in good times and even more so during a crisis like this,” said Mary Jo Dudley, director of the Cornell Farmworker Program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ (CALS) Department of Global Development. “By working together with our local and statewide network, we have a chance to slow the spread of this pandemic in rural New York and protect our most vulnerable populations.”

Since March 15, volunteers have handsewn more than 1,400 cloth masks for New York farmworkers. Health clinics, veterinarians, community organizations, and others are all lending a hand in the distribution effort. Local volunteer groups–in particular Bryant Mask Makers, coordinated by Andy Ruina, the John F. Carr Professor of Mechanical Engineering–joined forces in an effort to make 1,000 masks in two weeks.

Image: A volunteer shows off one of his handsewn masks. Provided/Cornell Farmworker Program

Read the full story by Kelly Merchan, Cornell Chronicle