Hail Mary Masks in Green Bay was able to provide local schools and parishes with PPE, such as masks and thermometers, thanks to a grant from an anonymous donor.

Without proper personal protective equipment, it would be difficult for schools, churches and assisted living facilities to operate during the current health crisis.

Thanks to an anonymous donor in Green Bay, reopening these facilities was made easier after fulfilling more than 250 grant applications for masks and digital thermometers in August.

“Earlier this year, the donor recognized the financial challenges faced by churches, schools and assisted living facilities in protecting and providing safe environments for students, staff, residents and visitors,” said Bob Seering of Hail Mary Masks. “We are grateful for the gift which has enabled our company to provide almost 100,000 high-quality surgical-grade masks and digital thermometers to grant applicants here in the Midwest.”

Hail Mary Masks is located in Green Bay and was founded from a desire to help people of faith protect themselves and others from contracting and spreading COVID-19 and other viruses. According to Seering, the company goal is to assist churches, schools, assisted living and other facilities to establish best practices and safely reopen to serve others as God intended. Hail Mary Masks has a trusted world-wide supply chain which delivers high quality, surgical-grade adult and children’s’ masks and digital thermometers at very reasonable prices.

“The company provided the Diocese of Green Bay and La Crosse with high-quality surgical-grade filtration masks and infra-red thermometers during the spring,” Seering said. “After Aug. 1, parishes were to supply their own masks and thermometers. Many parishes, schools, assisted living facilities, faced with financial challenges were unprepared to provide appropriate filtration masks and infra-red thermometers.”

Concerned about the importance of reopening these institutions and for the importance of personal protection, the donor stepped up with a donation to help Catholic churches and schools, and assisted living facilities in the Midwest to secure these needed supplies.

“Experts tell us that in addition to social distancing, the best practice for protection from the virus and stopping the spread is to wear appropriate filtration face masks for the virus and to conduct temperature screening,” said Seering. “Thanks to the generosity of the donor, Hail Mary Masks has distributed nearly 100,000 adult and children’s 3-ply surgical masks and N95 face masks and over 500 hand-held and hands-free infrared digital thermometers.”

At the donor’s specification, any tax-exempt Catholic church, school or assisted living/nursing home facility was eligible to apply for masks and thermometers during the grant period.

Wauwatosa Catholic School principal Lori Suarez said they were grateful to receive 200 masks for adults and students as well as three thermometers, including a standing one. Thanks to the donor, the school was able to open its doors safely.

“Wauwatosa Catholic is truly blessed and thankful that we received these items from Hail Mary,” she said. “We were able to accommodate all of our students enrolled at Wauwatosa Catholic with the various safety measures required by the state of Wisconsin.”

According to Kelly Stefanich, principal of St. Matthew School in Oak Creek, there were many expenses incurred while preparing for students to return fulltime to school. Receiving 100 children’s masks, 90 N-95 masks and 200 adult-sized masks was extremely helpful. The N-95 masks are helpful to have on hand for students who become ill and need to be in the isolation room until they can return home.

“It was not only a help financially, but one less thing we needed to worry about in our preparations to open,” she said. “Having the masks allow us to have back-ups for our students. So, even though they are to come to school with a mask, there are times that they forget, or the mask becomes soiled, etc.  We then have appropriately sized masks for the littles to use as well as the older students to wear.  It is also important for us to have extras for the adults in the building that may forget, or that are vendors or essential people that need to enter the building. They are available for them as well.”

Villa St. Francis is a Felician-sponsored Catholic ministry serving approximately 90 seniors in an assisted living facility. A large percentage of seniors served are publicly funded; so receiving the masks and thermometers from Hail Mary was integral in reducing costs for the necessary PPE supplies to keep residents and staff safe.

According to Sue Seegert, president and CEO of Villa St. Francis, the costs associated with COVID-19 have greatly affected the community. They received 180 masks, three hand-held thermometers and one hands-free thermometer and tripod from the organization.

“The generosity of others, like Hail Mary Masks, is so appreciated and heart-felt,” said Seegert. “In order to minimize the exposure of COVID-19, all of our staff are required to wear masks and we ask residents, if they are able, to wear masks as well.  In addition, we monitor the temperatures of all of our staff prior to the start of their shift and we monitor twice daily the temperatures of our residents.”

Thanks to the masks and thermometers, Seegert said they are nearly ready to open their doors to family who want to visit inside with their residents.  They plan on utilizing the hands-free thermometer and tripod for that purpose.