December 2, 2021

Nonprofits join to make masks

Photo contributed by Dan Pearo

Carol Reese, a production assistant for The Arc of Madison and Cortland’s integrated business, Alternatives Industry, makes a mask. The agency and Oswego industries are producing up to 30,000 masks for health care providers and businesses.

The goal was 10,000 masks.

That goal has long since been passed, and a partnership of an agency that helps people with developmental disabilities in Cortland County and an Oswego County agencies that helps people with disabilities now hopes to make 30,000

The Arc of Madison and Cortland and Oswego Industries started making masks about four weeks ago, said Darin Pearo, director of facilities and operations at the Arc of Madison and Cortland.

The two non-profits have been sending masks to health care providers and businesses as the need for masks has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic, added Igor Kasovski, the director of operation at Oswego Industries.

“So far it’s been great,” Kasovski said. “We’ve looked for ways in the past to collaborate and this is a way to do so.”

About a month ago, when the virus was starting to ramp up, Pearo decided to repurpose machinery at The Arc of Madison and Cortland to make masks, he said. When demand grew, he reached out to Oswego Industries to see if they could help.

“They’re (Oswego Industries) very big on quality and that’s what we’re all about,” Pearo said.

Oswego Industries provides fabric for The Arc Madison Cortland to make the masks, Pearo said.

He said that it made sense that the two organizations work together since they were in the same line of work.

The masks have so far just been plain cotton masks, but Kasovski said he is looking to see if he can get fabrics that allow for filtration. He also said that as long as there is a demand for the masks, both companies will help make them.

“Both businesses can help out the communities by making these masks,” Kasovski said.