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.
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.”