Masks for St. John’s Clinic and Southern St. Paul Church

Need a mask? We’ve got you covered.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has partnered with Operation USA and Servicon to distribute 50,000 masks throughout Los Angeles County’s Second District, which will include other healthcare services sites related to COVID-19 such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Campus in Willowbrook, over the coming weeks.

He recently distributed the first 500 masks to Southern St. Paul Church while it was hosting a COVID-19 mobile testing site operated by St. John’s Well Child and Family Clinic, which received 2,000 masks from the partnership to provide to staff and communities.

“COVID-19 is serious,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “We have an obligation to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our coworkers, and our community. That’s what this is about, and I’m pleased to be here with partners from the private sector, the non-profit sector, the faith-based community.”

“We’re joining forces to make sure our community is safe, healthy, and empowered,” he added. “We’re encouraging congregants, community members, parishioners, and providers to take advantage of this extraordinary distribution.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined Operation USA President and CEO Richard Waldren, Servicon President Michael Mahdesian, Southern St. Paul Pastor Xavier Thompson, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center President and CEO Jim Mangia, and St. John’s mobile clinic testing staff to distribute 2,500 masks at the site.

Operation USA was the first American group that went back into Vietnam after the war to provide airlifts of medical aid. As a reciprocal gesture for the aid they received over 40 years ago, the Vietnamese have sent over 2 million masks to Operation USA.

Operation USA President and CEO Richard Waldren said, “Our message is mask up—it’s very important. Without a therapeutic or a vaccine for the foreseeable future, we’re going to have to get used to wearing masks.” Waldren added that having Servicon’s facilities near Operation USA’s warehouse has facilitated the transport of thousands of masks.

Servicon, an environmental services company that disinfects hospitals and clinics, has been supporting Operation USA’s mask distribution efforts with its vehicles and staff. “We want to help the most vulnerable, as well as the workers on the frontlines and in medical centers,” Servicon President Michael Mahdesian said.

Southern St. Paul Church Pastor Xavier Thompson and St. John’s President and CEO Jim Mangia gratefully received the masks and vowed to distribute them to thousands of people they serve.

“In the midst of this pandemic we have so much to be thankful for,” Pastor Thompson said. “We love this community, we love the work, we love being servants of the people. Shout out to St. John’s Well Child and Family Center that is partnering with the Supervisor and serving the community.”

St. John’s mobile testing site at Southern St. Paul Church is one of many set up around LA County to test communities free of charge.

The masks arrival is timely as St. John’s clinic has been ramping up testing capabilities. “It’s clear that with the health disparities the people in Central and South LA face, we really need to advance and improve the access to testing,” said Mangia, whose clinics are set up in the most vulnerable parts of the County. “In partnership with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and pastors and reverends from churches throughout South and Central LA, we’re expanding testing and testing hundreds of people every day.”

St. John’s testing sites test hundreds of LA County residents each day.

LA County provides free testing, including to those without health insurance. There are plans to expand testing services at the Forum in Inglewood, and to establish new sites in Ladera Heights, Compton, and Willowbrook.

With communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, LA County is removing barriers to access to healthcare—from testing to obtaining personal protective equipment.

All LA County residents who believe they should be tested should first call their primary care provider. Residents without a provider are strongly encouraged to visit COVID19.lacounty.gov/testing to find their nearest testing site and make an appointment for free testing.