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La Jolla teen donates 20,000 masks to San Diego service organizations

Bishop’s School eighth-grader Ezra Granet stands with firefighters after donating 10,000 masks to San Diego Fire-Rescue.
Bishop’s School eighth-grader Ezra Granet stands with firefighters after donating 10,000 masks to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
(Courtesy)

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and often since, it seemed like everyone was on the lookout for protective surgical face masks — not the least of whom were those in public service organizations.

Looking to help, Ezra Granet, a student at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, created the charity Donate4Masks to collect donations to buy a bounty of surgical masks and get them to those who need them most.

“I noticed doctors and first responders needed masks and I wanted to do what I could to help,” said the 14-year-old eighth-grader. He partnered with Clinical Supplies, a mask company, and negotiated a bulk price so he could buy large amounts of masks.

Donate4Masks founder Ezra Granet, 14
Donate4Masks founder Ezra Granet, 14, launched a GoFundMe page, received a grant from the Rotary Club of Coronado and sold a mask tether to raise money to buy and distribute about 20,000 masks.
(Courtesy)

To raise the money needed to buy the masks, Ezra launched a GoFundMe page, received a grant from the Rotary Club of Coronado and sold a mask tether called MOMO (Mask On Mask Off) that takes the pressure off one’s ears when wearing masks for extended periods. Soon he had enough ($2,000) to purchase about 20,000 masks. Half of them went to firefighters, the rest to other organizations.

“I started with firefighters because I knew they needed them. I donated some to Jewish Family Service because they help a lot of people with their food drives, and soon I will donate some to Family Health Centers of San Diego because they provide care to people that don’t have insurance or have trouble affording health care,” he said. “It makes me really happy to do this. When I donate to others, people seem really happy. It makes me feel good because I realized how much I was helping people.”

Carole Yellen, senior director of strategic partnerships for Jewish Family Service of San Diego, said “volunteers like Ezra demonstrate that you are never too young to make a big impact. ... By volunteering, running donation drives or advocating on issues they care about, teens like Ezra are stepping into their responsibilities as a member of the community and building the skills to be the changemakers of tomorrow.”

When family and friends got involved in Ezra’s project, Yellen said, it “blossomed into something bigger than anyone could have imagined: 6,000 masks for JFS’ frontline workers and the community members we serve. Even when the world or news seems overwhelming, like during this pandemic, giving back can help all of us feel like we are contributing to brighter days.”

Ezra’s humanitarian efforts began when he was in elementary school after reading an article about the impact malaria was having on children. “It was killing kids in other countries, so I led a schoolwide fundraiser ... and we donated $2,500,” he said. “So that’s where the mindset came from.

“With the pandemic, I wanted to continue to that. I thought there wasn’t too much I could do, but locally there was a lot of people that need help.”

“As long as people need masks, I want to help,” he added. “But when the pandemic ends, I will do something else. I don’t know what yet, but I want to help.”

To learn more or to donate, go to donate4masks.org. ◆