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Face Masks

Salk’s Hardware: Giving During a Global Pandemic

Jeffrey Salk ordered about 4,000 protective face masks in January, never dreaming his community would be desperate for them before the full order came in.

Salk's Hardware
Cases of water keep customers at a distance at the checkout counter at Salk’s Hardware & Marine.

The owner of four Salk’s Hardware & Marine stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island has a friend who works with a manufacturing plant in Wuhan, China, where COVID-19 was first diagnosed. Salk’s friend asked for thousands of protective N95 face masks to send to Wuhan.

Salk put in the order in January and the first 2,000 masks went to help people in China.

“I didn’t think it would become a global pandemic,” Salk says. “It’s just surreal at times.”

By the time he received a delivery of nearly 800 more masks on March 17, he knew his community needed them badly. “We’re here in a time of need,” Salk says.

“We’ve been here since 1900 and we’re ingrained in the community. Whatever we can do to help the community, that’s what we want to do. It’s not always about making a dollar.”

Salk donated every mask he could to a local hospital, which was looking for the N95 masks because they prevent 95 percent of particles from getting through them. If the rest of his mask order eventually comes in, Salk will donate those to the hospital, as well.

“I have friends in the medical profession,” he says. “I know how hard they’re working and I’ve heard of the risks. I decided to do my own little bit to help them. I wish I could do more.”

About Kate Klein

Kate Klein
Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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