After a long night shift at University of California San Francisco’s Intensive Care Unit, Jennifer Dela Cruz came home and kept working on ways to help those in need. Ever since The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and many city and counties in Northern California recommended wearing a cloth face covering in public settings, she knew there was a need to create masks. She then spotted a Giants Authentic Fan t-shirt that belonged to her husband, Jay Dela Cruz, and quickly searched on YouTube for how to turn it into a face mask.
Not long after, Jay, a senior director of communications for NBC’s regional sports network, sent a photo of him wearing his new custom mask to his colleagues.
Jay’s coworker, senior director of marketing and creative services for NBC Sports Bay Area, Emily Raimondi, saw this text and quickly thought of an idea to help their community.
Emily jumped into action and began gathering T-shirts from NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California’s team partners – MLB’s San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s, NBA’s Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings, NHL’s San Jose Sharks, MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes and NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, along with the teams’ apparel and merchandise partner Fanatics.
Within a week Emily and her colleagues at NBC Sports had collected about 10,000 shirts to make face masks out of. There was only one issue, they did not have the machinery needed to transform the t-shirts into masks.
That’s when they teamed up with San Francisco-based bag manufacturer Timbuk2, who had just created a mask prototype. Timing was on their side because Timbuk2 had all the other means to make the mask but were missing the perfect solution for the largest part of the covering. Together, NBC Sports, it’s California team partners and Timbuk2 are making a difference in their community by coming together. “Bay Area united,” Emily says of the efforts to bring every aspect together.
With every t-shirt making about 4-6 facial coverings, they’re set to donate 50,000 face masks and bandanas to Northern California health care providers.
“Now more than ever, we must all work together to respond with compassion, solidarity and ingenuity to support the healthcare professionals and other frontline heroes who are working to save lives at the risk of their own,” said Emily. “We are committed to unite and protect our community by being a part of this team effort to provide face masks and bandanas and are thankful for our team partners and Timbuk2’s support of this critically important initiative.”
Additionally, the CDC encourages the public to reserve N95 respirators and surgical masks for healthcare workers — like Jennifer who jumpstarted this project — and other medical first responders. For more information on facial coverings, visit the CDC website here.
The masks that are made will be donated to Bay Area Community Services and other local groups in need. If you’d like to see the process of the face masks and bandanas being manufactured you can see photos here.
As for Jay and the mask that launched this movement, he’s still got it, wearing it proudly to protect himself and those around him, “keeping fans healthy and safe”.