Boys & Girls Club gets massive mask donation in South Elgin

One by one, pallet after pallet carrying more than 20,000 face masks each were unloaded Friday from a semitrailer in the warehouse that will serve as the future home of the Boys & Girls Club of South Elgin.

About 620,000 reusable face masks in all, donated by the Muslim Coalition for America, will go to kids and staff members at nearby clubs.

"This is awesome," said Cathy Russell, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin.

Russell said the masks will be picked up from the South Elgin warehouse by about 100 clubs located within a two- to three-hour driving radius. She said pickup will start after the new year and she hopes to get them out in two to three weeks.

The masks were delivered from California to South Elgin for free by Uber Freight.

The Muslim Coalition for America has now donated more than 700,000 reusable masks - estimated to be worth approximately $3.5 million - to the Boys & Girls Club, according to a news release.

Even during the pandemic, the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin is serving about 500 kids a day, Russell said, and not having enough masks has been a problem.

Work on the 20,000-square-foot facility that will become the new Boys & Girls Club of South Elgin is slated to start in the next few weeks, Russell said, and she hopes it will be open in about nine months.

For now, the "timing worked out great" to have a big, empty warehouse that a semitrailer could drive in and drop off 27 pallets of masks.

  South Elgin Village Administrator Steve Super climbs inside a semitrailer to help unload about 620,000 reusable face masks donated to the Boys & Girls Club. Rick West/
  Boys & Girls Club of Elgin CEO Cathy Russell opens one of the more than 1,200 boxes of reusable face masks received as a donation from the Muslim Coalition for America. About 620,000 masks in total were delivered free by Uber Freight Friday in South Elgin. Rick West/
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