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Tens of thousands of donated face masks handed out in Ascension Parish

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PRAIRIEVILLE - Folks in Ascension Parish got a chance to drive through one of nine distribution sites, where tens of thousands of face masks were handed out on Monday.

The masks are part of a generous donation from Hanes Inc. to the state of Louisiana. Ascension parish received almost 50,000 masks alone.

From there, they were distributed to different cities and fire departments within the parish based on population.

It may have looked like a typical, pre-corona, traffic snarl during the rush hour on Airline Hwy., but it was hundreds of cars rolling through the makeshift drive-thru at Frank’s Restaurant to pick up their own set of 5 cotton face masks per vehicle.

“Saw it was advertised they were giving away the free masks. And the governor just recommended it, or, strongly encouraged it in his new extension of the stay at home order,” Ascension Parish resident Jimmy Goodrum said.

“I’m going to make a strong appeal to the people of Louisiana to wear masks or face coverings when in public. This is now a recommendation from the CDC, it’s a recommendation from the department of health,” Governor John Bel Edwards said at his coronavirus press briefing on Monday.

“They’re just really hard to come by. We just came down (Hwy.) 73. They’re giving them away at the fire station too. I think the line there was even longer. So the message is definitely getting out,” Goodrum said.

Prairieville Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Patrick Carpenter said that cars were backed up on the highway in both directions well before they were supposed to start the distribution at 5 p.m.

“The outpouring of the community coming out today for these masks is amazing, unthinkable,” Carpenter said.

The fire station on Jefferson Hwy. was allotted around 11,000 of the re-washable, re-usable masks. There was just one box was left after the first hour of handing them out.

“I think folks are understanding of the governor’s message about staying home, safe distances, and when you’re out in public wear a mask,” Carpenter said.

Thanks to Hanes Inc., local governments, law enforcement, and firefighters, those high-in-demand masks are getting where they need to be, in the hands of everyone in the community.

In total, Hanes donated two million of their masks to the state of Louisiana.

The Ascension Parish Government did not say if all the masks they were allotted were given out today. 


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