Township PD plans drive-by mask give away for seniors

Ford grant provided the department with 15,000 free masks

Officer Jessica Walton and Officer Josh Bradford of the Washington Township Police department stand with a FORD logistics truck driver who delivered 15,000 masks for senior citizens.

The Washington Township Police Department has partnered with Ford Motor Company to provide free masks to senior citizens across the township.

“Back in February, we learned that Ford had a grant for first responders for personal protective equipment … We had received a shipment for our police officers and fire department,” Washington Township Police Chief Patrick Gurcsik explained. “We made a second request on Feb 24 for masks for our senior citizens in town … To our surprise they decided to partner with us and we received shipments on Saturday.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Ford sourced materials and equipment to start the production of face masks and other personal protective equipment such as gowns and face shields. The company decided to donate 100 million medical grade masks to first responders, hospitals and communities in need. 

In February, the WTPD received two shipments of Ford masks for both first responders and senior citizens. The grant is not only helping to protect the most vulnerable in the township community, but is also providing PPE to those who may not be able to afford it. 

“My wife and I were discussing the cost of masks and in the stores the masks are a dollar apiece, she was wondering how those on a fixed income, like senior citizens, could afford them,” Gurcsik said. “Disposable masks are only meant to be worn once and people are wearing them multiple times.”

The department has planned four dates in April where they will be set up in the Senior Center parking lot on Greentree Road for a drive-by mask giveaway. Through the Ford PPE grant, the department received 15,000 masks. Each participating senior citizen will be able to take home 25 masks for free.

“The giveaway will give us a moment to say hello to our seniors and remind them that brighter days are ahead,” Gurcsik said. “We are a community caretaking police force and are constantly looking for ways to support people living in Washington Township.”

The dates for the drive-by mask giveaway are slated for April 8, 15, 22 and 29. Senior citizens who may need transportation to the event can reach out to the police department at ercaveng@pd.township.washington.nj.us

For more information about the Ford grants, visit https://corporate.ford.com/social-impact/coronavirus/ppe.html

The department is currently discussing dates for Cops and Bobbers in June as well as the Junior Police Academy in July. More information about these events will be available in the coming weeks.