By Mike Kinney
The Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) was recently gifted mask-wearing teddy bears, along with kid-sized masks, to give to homeless children it serves.
The teddy bears were donated to MediMasks by Samantha Grier of Caring for Children. They will be accompanied by reusable cotton masks made in various child sizes by MediMask, which has been sewing masks for Bay Area homeless children.
The gifts will go to children housed at the GRIP Family Shelter, which typically serves close to 85 individuals, and the Courtyard by Marriott in Richmond, where over 200 adults and children are staying during the COVID-19 shelter in place period.
“A teddy bear is a therapeutic tool that supports a child’s mental health, as a protective mask supports their physical health,” Grier said in a statement. “It provides a sense of security and safety giving the child an opportunity to build psychological immunity and resilience in the stressful situation which homeless children experience daily.”
Vivan Feier, a local community activist who was part of the partnership, said the hope is “the bright soft fabrics, the special fit, and the little matching teddy bear masks might help to make this new part of life a little more playful, joyful and easy to understand.”
Another partner bolstered the effort with donations of adult mask in collaboration with Office of Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, according to GRIP.
“GRIP is grateful for the handmade masks and the thought put into how important it is to help children with the ‘new normal” . We forget this is hard for them too.” says Kathleen Sullivan, GRIP Executive Director.
GRIP is encouraging further support for the effort by MediMasks by clicking this GoFundMe fundraiser here.