WARSAW — In a few short seconds, a car pulled up to the curb on North Main Street.
Volunteer Beth Herman tossed a package of protective masks through vehicle’s open passenger window — a skill at which she had proven adept on Thursday morning. A second car soon approached, and then a motorcycle, a delivery van and a pickup.
“I had a truck driver stop and I had to throw them up into the truck,” Herman said.
Protective masks continue to be in high demand across the GLOW region as residents take precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As Herman spoke, a similar mask distribution was also underway simultaneously at the Batavia City Fire Department.
Lines of people responded as they showed up to get the free protective face coverings and bottles of hand sanitizer.
“We’ve had 109 cars and we’ve given away close to 400 masks,” said City Councilman Bob Bialkowski about 11 a.m. during the Batavia distribution.
The Wyoming County event was conducted by the Wyoming County United Way and the GLOW YMCA, in conjunction with the county government. It was originally set for the YMCA on Linwood Avenue, but soon branched out to its two additional locations on North Main Street and Tops Friendly Market.
Director Matt Hilton of Warsaw’s Y branch said it was a chance to help the community, with its employees helping staff the event.
Molly Sampson normally works the Y’s front desk, but on Thursday had teamed up with Herman. Both wore masks and rubber gloves themselves.
“It’s nice to do it, “Sampson said. “You feel like you’re actually helping people. Everybody’s been so scared, so you feel like you can do something to make people feel a little safer. It’s been nice — a beautiful day.”
Over at Tops Friendly Markets, Regional Manager Kelly McLaughlin of the Wyoming County United Way was similarly outfitted and was holding a box of miniature hand sanitizer bottles for distribution. She estimated they had given away more than 1,000 masks.
“It’s just to help with the COVID-19 crisis,” she said, before pausing to give some masks to an older woman who was without. “It’s always good to get our name out there and let the community know that we’re doing what we can to stop the spread.”
The Batavia distribution likewise continued, with city officials and firefighters among those disbursing the masks and sanitizer. City Manager Marty Moore said they were asking how many were in each family and how many masks were needed.
“They’re doing this today and they’re doing it Saturday at the Police Department,” he said. “It’s their turn from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s a small part of what we can do, but we’re happy to be able to do it for people, and help them feel better.
“A lot of the people are bursting for reopening and we do still have a significant part of the population that is a little nervous about coming back out into the open air and public,” he continued. “If this helps make them a little bit less nervous, then that’s terrific.”