CASE STUDY: One Million Masks Coalition
Helping Communities Stay Safe
As the COVID-19 pandemic tightened its grip on British Columbia in early 2021, the BC government implemented a mandatory face-covering policy to access both travel systems and all public spaces throughout the province. Many low-income people were faced with a dilemma: They relied on public transit to get to work, school and access essential services, but found it difficult to afford or obtain the face masks needed to travel safely.
United Way, Deloitte, TransLink, OEC, YVR, BC Ferries, BCAA, SCI and BC Transit recognized that they all had a part to play in using the resources available to them to come together to help those in need.
Supporting community safety
The United Way identified a need across its community agencies/partners for access to masks for those in need and entrusted this network to get the masks into the hands of those who need them most urgently.
However, the logistics were becoming complex. The One Million Masks coalition needed a way to store and distribute shipments of masks to community organizations throughout the province, including to remote communities.
“We have a responsibility to the communities we serve,” says Chris Galindo, President and CEO of SCI Group. “We were so proud to support this incredible initiative, and to know that we made a difference during a very difficult time.”
“We have a responsibility to the communities we serve. We were so proud to support this incredible initiative, and to know that we made a difference during a very difficult time.”
- Chris Galindo, President and CEO of SCI
Fulfilling the fulfillment gap
The team at SCI’s Langley distribution facility quickly got to work, setting up warehousing and fulfillment services for the disposable 3-ply non-medical masks.
“The logistics component was extensively planned and all the key elements of product and distribution flowed 2 seamlessly through our facility. We were able to plan out each day’s product shipments with clear advance order information and good communication with the BCAA transport drivers” says Brent Clarke, General Manager Langley Operations. “We were very proud to participate in the One Million Masks campaign. The project was extremely well organized, and all participants brought a high degree of commitment and energy towards making it a success. I wish all logistics projects were as smooth as this one. We are glad that we could contribute to getting these masks to so many people who needed them.”
By late January, distribution of more than 400,000 masks had begun in Metro Vancouver, providing free masks to children, families, seniors, Indigenous communities, and people experiencing homelessness. By the end of February, one million masks had been successfully distributed throughout the province.
“The task would have been impossible without all the partners around the table. Each bring a certain level of expertise and network with them” says Michael McKnight President and CEO, United Way British Columbia.
Supporting people in need
Access to high quality masks made a difference for people living on fixed incomes or for those unable to access laundry facilities to care for cloth masks.
In just six weeks, the coalition had successfully procured and delivered one million masks to more than 100 community organizations for distribution to people in need. Kris Gibson of United Way remarked, “I think this is just a great example of an amazing partnership of multiple partners coming to the table and ensuring that their community is supported in an important way”.
“I think this is just a great example of an amazing partnership of multiple partners coming to the table and ensuring that their community is supported in an important way.”
- Kris Gibson, United Way British Columbia
“We were very proud to participate in the One Million Masks campaign. The project was extremely well organized, and all participants brought a high degree of commitment and energy towards making it a success.”
- Brent Clarke, General Manager, SCI Langley Operations
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