Before coronavirus numbers in the U.S. significantly spiked, Dina Akel was already keenly aware of the virus’s dangers.
Her husband’s family is from China, where the virus originated.
“We were kind of scared that it was going to happen here. And low and behold things did occur,” Akel said.
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When it became clear that the US had a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment, Akel, who lives in Quincy, picked up a needle and thread and began to make masks.
“I started making masks and I started donating locally and that’s kind of where it all started,” she said.
Soon friends and family joined in and Covid Shield Boston was born.
The organization sells a portion of the masks that are made by volunteers in order to give away even more masks to healthcare organizations and others who are in need.
Covid Shield Boston has grown to include 18 volunteers.
They have sold about 400 masks and given away about 1,000 masks to people and companies, including St. Joseph’s Hospital and Nielsen Eye Center in Quincy.
“Dina actually reached out to us and offered to donate some masks and some shields,” said Dr. Steven Nielsen of Nielsen Eye Center.
He said Akel’s organization is filling a critical need in medical practices like his.
“The face masks and the shield are so critical to be able to see these patients safely,” Dr. Nielsen said.
Akel, who is a bridal stylist, created Covid Shield Boston while home from work.
Like many people, she has not been paid while the bridal store she works for is shut down.
Still, she said the service she is doing is a huge reward.
“My goal is, I want this to be a social entrepreneurship venture. I want to be able to help people.”
To volunteer for Covid Shield Boston, or if you are a healthcare worker, a healthcare organization, or someone in need of masks, visit www.covidshieldboston.com.
Akel says there is a bit of a wait list.