Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) and its members are showing love for their communities this Valentine’s Day, teaming up with area hospital systems to increase access to masks and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This week, PEC delivered 1,800 masks to Baylor Scott and & White Medical Center – Austin through the cooperative’s Masks for Members Program. The masks, most of which are handmade, will go to patients and community members in need. PEC members have donated more than 6,000 masks in the six months since starting the program.
“Masks have become an essential part of our lives over the last year,” said Jessie Everline, Director of Operations at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Austin. “With this donation from PEC, we are able to continue to provide much needed protection for our community. We are grateful to PEC for this generous donation and for making a difference.”
In addition to Baylor Scott & White Health, Ascension Seton and Kimble County Meals on Wheels have also received masks and are helping PEC distribute them to people in need. Concern for community is one of the seven cooperative principles and giving back to the community is part of the cooperative difference.
“It’s truly amazing that in just six months, our members have stepped up to make and donate thousands of masks to help their neighbors,” PEC Community Relations Coordinator Caroline Tinsley Porter said. “Members have put in many hours behind their sewing machines making these masks with love. We can’t thank them enough for their time and for coming together with us to support this important cause.”
Nancy McLaughlin, a PEC member in Leander, is one such participant. She has sewn hundreds of masks for the program and says participating helps her feel more connected — both to her cooperative and the community she loves. McLaughlin even hand embroiders a heart on each mask to show she cares.
“I’ve always been brought up to help your community and put your neighbor first,” she said. “I’m very fortunate I can do this; if it’s one way I can give back to help keep people safe, then that’s something I need to do.”
PEC will continue to collect masks through the program and deliver them to local hospital partners. For those interested in participating, it’s not too late. Learn more about PEC’s Masks for Members program and how to donate at pec.coop/masks.