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A mask for every face: Two NH businessmen team up with Rotary clubs for this weekend’s mass mask distribution in Nashua

By Dean Shalhoup - Senior Staff Writer | May 13, 2020

Courtesy photo The Common Man CEO Alex Ray's "Maskmobile" is, naturally, wearing a mask during the mask giveaway in Plymouth.

NASHUA – Calling all unprotected faces: The Maskmobile is coming. And it’s headed right for Nashua.

So named for its cargo – tens of thousands of “lightweight, washable, reusable, double-woven cloth facemasks” – the Maskmobile is due in Nashua Friday for a three-day visit during which teams of volunteers, chiefly local Rotarians, will be handing out the masks free of charge to anyone who asks for them.

The distribution site, at Nashua High School South, will be open from 3-7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.

Those who plan to go will see signs directing them to the site once they turn onto Riverside Street. Drivers and passengers will remain in their vehicles, and pull up to the distribution site as directed by volunteers.

The energy behind the mass mask-distribution project comes from a pair of gregarious New Hampshire businessmen, who, quite wisely, reached out to members of Rotary clubs for assistance in planning, implementing and coordinating the large-scale giveaways.

The businessmen – longtime Rotarians Alex Ray, CEO of The Common Man restaurants, and Steve Rand, third-generation owner of the historic A.M. Rand Hardware store in downtown Plymouth – ordered some 67,000 masks from Honduras, and when the shipment arrived in Miami, the two headed south to pick them up.

A 24-hour road trip later, the masks were in the Granite State awaiting distribution at various sites.

Greeting mask-seekers in Nashua will be volunteers from Nashua Rotary, Nashua Rotary West, and Souhegan Valley Rotary.

Ray and Rand call their masks-for-everyone campaign “Mask Up NH!” Additional information can be found at www.maskupnh.com.

According to Ray, the Maskmobile is actually his Common Man Trolley, which he repurposed for use at the giveaways.

The Maskmobile made its debut at the first giveaway, which took place in Plymouth two weeks ago in partnership with volunteers from the Plymouth Rotary Club.

“Rotarians understand that wearing a mask in public places and social distancing are the two most important ways that everyday citizens can help contain the spread of the coronavirus and keep our communities healthy and thriving,” Ray wrote in a statement that was posted on Facebook.

“Every person who wears a mask is announcing his or her effort to help contain the virus.”

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.


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