Team, NovaCare Partner to Donate 10,000 Masks

Since the NBA season was brought to a halt in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 76ers have been proactive in their organization-wide efforts to provide relief to medical facilities, healthcare workers, and local residents in need. 

The following article, originally published on Forbes.com by reporter Shlomo Sprung, details a new joint mask-distribution intiative between launched by the team and one of its partners, NovaCare.

The Philadelphia 76ers and NovaCare announced Thursday that they’re donating 10,000 masks to areas of need in Philadelphia and Camden, N.J., where the team is headquartered.

In partnership with the Sixers Youth Foundation, the masks will be donated to Camden Health & Athletic Association, Food Corps, Cathedral Kitchen, Playworks, Salvation Army Krocs Center, LUCY Outreach, Camden County School District, KIPP Schools, Philabundance, Food Bank of South Jersey and Camden County Department of Human Services. These organizations were pre-selected based off demonstrated need and its history with the foundation and NovaCare, a Philadelphia-based physical rehabilitation company with nearly 1,000 locations in 33 states and Washington, D.C.

“These are communities in need that really don’t have easy access to masks,” said Katie O’Reilly, the Sixers’ Chief Marketing Officer. “Our foundation spends the bulk of its work in the city of Philadelphia and Camden, so they have a great understanding of that. We wanted to help, and obviously so did NovaCare.”

It’s something the two organizations have worked on for months during this trying period of the coronavirus pandemic. And like many places around the United States, masks are mandatory in Philadelphia if you’re outside in public areas.

“We’re listening to all of the health professionals,” O’Reilly said. “The bottom line is, we have learned that wearing masks can save lives. So let’s be a part of that. Let’s donate the masks where we can.”

“We are proud to collaborate with our more than 30-year partner, the Sixers, to provide masks in the communities we serve to promote health, safety and well-being,” said NovaCare Rehabilitation President Dan Bradley. 

The Sixers are using their social media platforms to show their players wearing masks and just how easy it can be to put one on and stop the spread of COVID-19.

“And it’s even better if those masks can have cool 76ers branding on it,” she said.

This donation of 10,000 masks comes at a time when many American cities are experiencing renewed shortages of personal protective equipment like masks.

“We’re five months into this and there are still shortages of gowns, hair covers, shoe covers, masks, N95 masks,” Deborah Burger, president of National Nurses United, told the Associated Press on Tuesday. “They’re being doled out, and we’re still being told to reuse them.”

June 24 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted a medical student at nearby Jefferson University and the daughter of a doctor at Temple University Hospital who are still looking for critical supplies. The Sixers say they may be planning additional future donations, but right now a happy to use their platform and resources any way they can.

“However we can help spread the message and do our part to help contribute to our community and give back, it’s so important,” O’Reilly said. “We believe it’s our responsibility as a global brand and a representative of the city to help share that information and message to help be a part of stopping this thing.”

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