RANSHAW — Volunteers from the local area joined forces with the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way and partnering agencies to give away 800 face masks to the public Saturday afternoon to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The masks were presented to drive-by motorists outside Brady Fire Company from noon to 2 p.m.

“Today’s event was very successful and I’m thrilled with the turnout,” commented Joanne Troutman, president and CEO of the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way, which sponsored the fabric mask giveaway with support from the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce. “I want to thank everyone who participated and supported our efforts.”

Troutman praised all the volunteers and especially commended Brady Fire Co. officials for the use of their parking lot and local United Way leaders Melissa Farrow and Kathy Vetovich for helping recruit volunteers and organize the local giveaway.

Troutman also thanked the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce for teaming up with the United Way to sponsor the event.

“There was a steady flow of motorists here today and that shows that there’s still a demand for masks in this area,” Troutman said. “The support we received is amazing and we’re excited to increase our presence in the Shamokin area.”

Troutman said some of the masks were made and donated by women from the Mennonite community while others were purchased by the United Way and Chamber of Commerce.

Jim Madden, president of Brady Fire Co., who helped direct traffic at the event with other fire company members and volunteers, also was happy with the amount of people who took advantage of the free distribution of masks.

Madden said, “We were happy to assist the United Way with this important project and encourage people to wear the masks and take other precautions to prevent the spread of this terrible virus.”

Troutman said the United Way will sponsor another drive-by mask giveaway from noon to 2 p.m. today at the Silver Moon in Lewisburg. Motorists are urged to use Zeigler Road to receive the masks.

Face masks also be distributed free to the public from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday, May 4, at the former Kmart building in Shamokin Dam, which is the future site of W&L Nissan. That event is being sponsored by the United Way, Chamber of Commerce, National Beef and the Dairy Farmers of America.

Local public free Wi-Fi sites during the coronavirus pandemic are located at Weis Markets, Dunkin and Heritage Restaurant in Shamokin, Pizza Hut in Coal Township, Mount Carmel Public Library, Dunkin, Weis Markets (North Fourth Street and Market Street locations), Degenstein Community Library and Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way in Sunbury.

Troutman urged people in need of help to dial 2-1-1 for assistance with food banks, emergency housing, utility assistance, drug and alcohol detox treatment and crisis intervention. Callers can also text their zip code to 898211 to connect with trained referral community specialists. The free and confidential program is available 24/7.

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