NEW YORK, April 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- DHVANI, the Activ(ist)Wear brand, today unveiled a Times Square billboard promising "A Mask for Every American." The red, white and blue billboard features the internet address DHVANI.com/FreeMasks – a web page where anyone can request a free face mask, and donate to help supply masks.
The billboard kicks off a fundraising campaign to provide all 327 million American residents with a free face mask to protect themselves and others from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company will provide medical-grade masks to healthcare professionals and reusable cloth masks to the general public, per recommendations from U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
This is a personal issue for DHVANI's co-founder and chief of operations, Kanayochukwu Onwuama. Onwuama first learned of the seriousness of the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages in the New York City area from his mother Joy Austin, a registered nurse at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NY.
"When my mom told me she'd been using the same disposable mask for a whole week, my stomach dropped, and I couldn't help but cry," said Onwuama. "I immediately knew I had to do something."
"We hope nobody actually sees the billboard because they're sheltering in place," said Avi Brown, DHVANI's co-founder and chief executive. "Unprecedented times require unprecedented action. It's up to all of us to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the help of donations from the public, we're using our manufacturing and distribution resources to put a mask on every face in America."
The two founders quickly decided to help the American people fight the virus, which has already caused more than 170,000 deaths worldwide, one in four of which have been in the U.S. In Portland, where DHVANI is headquartered, the company made an initial donation of 10,000 medical-grade face masks to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and an additional 1,000 to essential workers such as grocery store employees. Its next donation of 10,000 masks will be delivered to Elmhurst Hospital.
"Providence is grateful for DHVANI's mask donation," said Nancy Roberts, chief operating officer of Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. "Every caregiver in a patient care area, no matter what their role, wears a mask for their shift. Donations from local organizations like DHVANI help us ensure that we continue to have masks to protect our patients, their families, and our caregivers. We are truly amazed by the generosity of individuals and businesses in Oregon."
DHVANI is no stranger to philanthropic activism. Earlier this year, the brand launched their Buy One, Plant One initiative to help the reforestation effort of Australia's 8.8 million acres of brush fire devastation. The company plants a tree for every item purchased from their website. And in an effort to directly reduce plastic pollution in oceans and landfills, DHVANI recently announced its new Terra leggings and sports bras, which are made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.