Members of Kappa Delta Pi: Iota Chapter, the international honor society in education at Emporia State University, is providing mask trees to be set up around the Emporia State University campus over the next few weeks. Each tree is stocked with CDC-approved, individually packaged, reusable masks.
Members of KDP, who are education majors, led by officers Kalliope Amos, Bailey Hardie, Alex Reid and Chelsea Williams, won the Community Impact Challenge Grant competition at ESU during the Fall 2020 semester. The award provided $500 to spend on the bags, stickers, cleaning and instructions, with the bulk of the cost – $380 of it – going to the masks.
“A mask tree would help solve the problem of mask shortages and consequently curb the spread of COVID-19,” KDP member chair, Bailey Hardie said in an online video.
“We are an education honor society and one of our goals is service to education,” said KDP vice president Kalliope Amos. “We believe that it’s important to give back to education in any way that we can.”
Individual masks are security sealed in separate bags, with care instructions. The trees are being placed in locations where they can be readily monitored to prevent potential overuse or vandalism. Locations include on the Emporia State campus. Masks will also be distributed for teachers in USD 253.
KDP members said they chose the mask tree to support individuals who do not have the money to buy them or get to a store to purchase them. Each tree will be checked regularly for restocking and maintenance. Hannah Lingard and Mattie Tillman of KDP have helped along with other KDP volunteers to organize a virtual “bagging party” to prepare the masks so they are ready to distribute on January 25.
The organization has partnered with members of the community, including employees at ESU, as well as the students’ families, friends and churches. Financial donations are being accepted as well to keep the project going on as long as possible. Information about donations can be found at https://kdpemporiastate.wixsite.com/esukdp/mask-tree.
“While it has taken a group of volunteers to make this happen, I do not believe that our goal would have been achieved had it not been for Bailey’s leadership and dedication to the project,” said Dr. Melissa Reed, faculty advisor to KDP.
More information about the mask trees can be seen in online video where the KDP team pitched their idea to the judges of the grant competition: https://youtu.be/zLXFoTGt1Fk?t=1745.