Written by Kevin Heffernan
Photos Courtesy Buffalo Resilience

“As things start to slowly open back up again, there is still a huge need.”

Phil Mc Namera felt an urge to help as soon as COVID struck and its realities became evident.

“This whole things started as a group text message to my friend group to attempt to get donations of N95 masks. As we realized that there were none left in the city, we started a facebook group to get the word out and the response was immense. We suddenly realized that #BuffaloResilience could become a connecting hub for individuals who were stuck at home and wanted to help but did’nt have the resources. We reached out to local businesses for help and Custom Covers and Canvas (Niagara Falls) came to help. With them, we could cut a pattern and create a mask kit that we would distribute to our volunteers. We created a website, had a volunteer page and within days we had hundreds of volunteers. We raised some money and sourced a surgical grade material and started to produce a high quality masks.”

Buffalo Resilience

Masks produced and donated as of 5/26/2020:


To Local Hospitals


To Buffalo Schools


To the Mayors Office


To United Way

“We have over 1500 more masks in production by our volunteers right now. On our website, you can volunteer to sew masks, donate to our GoFundMe campaign, donate time, request masks for your community organization, you can see a full list of all organizations we have donated to and some organizations and businesses that have supported our cause.

“We also have a resource page showing local mental health, addiction and support services.
“The project has helped individuals feel less helpless and anxious. People who were forced to stay home from work or school, who had nothing to do but watch the terrifying numbers come in on the news could now do something to help. The hospital workers and heroes were being honored and making masks became our volunteers’ way of honoring them, at the same time doing something very practical and helping themselves while they worked.
“As things start to slowly open back up again, there is still a huge need. We are working with the City and some Sheriffs¬† Departments, schools and many community organizations in need.”
As the news cycle shifts to reopening and what’s happening economically, there are indeed still people struggling with their mental health, with feeling a sense of purpose, and with finding masks. Get involved or provide support in any way you can to this outstanding organization. The work of their volunteers, who you’re invited to join, will be needed for many months to come.