Patrick Slayter, Sarah Gurney and Una Glass

Patrick Slayter, Sarah Gurney and Una Glass all contributed to the SebastoMASK program. Slayter and Glass kicked off the program and Gurney recently fundraised enough money to double it.

The SebastoMASK program is about to double in size, thanks to the fast fundraising of Councilmember Sarah Gurney, who raised nearly  $4,000 so that the city could order another 500 masks.

“Overnight, after I learned at council that the mayor and vice mayor had dedicated their initiatives money to this project, I thought we might expand the distribution beyond their designated recipients: business customers and transit riders, and out-and-about maskless. If only we had money,” Gurney said.

“I reached out to 20 people in one email and asked them to match my pledge of $300 (a month’s council member “salary”). Within 24 hours, pledges reached $3,450, with two possible pledges that would boost the total to the necessary $4,000. So the mayor submitted our city’s second order.”

The new masks will go to the city’s most vulnerable populations, Gurney said, listing off the new recipients: “Congregate populations, like our folks at Burbank Heights and Orchards. Tenants of high density developments, like Petaluma Avenue Homes, including a three-story apartment building with an elevator, and 699 Gravenstein North.”

She said masks would also be given out to seniors through the Senior Center network; to residents of Park Village, the city’s low low-income housing complex; and to the street campers on Morris Street.

Gurney’s fundraising effort double the size of the mask program.

“Our city’s order is now at 1,000 masks — thanks to a few, very generous donors,” she said. “Plus masks will now come not just in white but also in black, gold, and deep red, with the city logo professionally transferred (not ironed on).”

Gurney said it’s a bright spot in otherwise rather dark time.

“Our city’s revenue is in free fall, and we have no idea how low it will drop or when it will rebound,” she said. “Nor do we know how we might reimagine our way of being a community. That’s why I was so impressed by this instant leap of faith and confidence in local government and generosity within our community.”

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