In December 2020, the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP) announced it was providing Coachella Valley small businesses with more than $1 million in personal protective equipment (PPE). The cost-free PPE was distributed to small businesses in need all throughout the Coachella Valley. The program, called CVEP’s “Million Mask Giveaway,” was made possible by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES). CVEP partnered with the nine cities of the Coachella Valley to assist in the distribution of 1,440,000 face masks, 96,000 16.9 oz bottles of hand sanitizers, and 40,400 face shields to eligible Coachella Valley small businesses.
“As part of the effort to keep businesses operating – and operating safely – this will be a significant contribution to our local business base. For small businesses, the cost of masks and sanitizers adds up quickly,” said Joe Wallace, CEO and Chief Innovation Officer of CVEP. “This initiative means businesses will not have to worry about spending their own money on PPE. By partnering with all nine cities, it demonstrates what we can do when we work together as a region.”
Cities were each given a supply of PPE, based on the number and type of businesses in their city. Once each city received its supply from CVEP, PPE distribution was coordinated by each city, and was complete by the end of December. Business owners could find out distribution details from their city by visiting cvep.com/millionmaskgiveaway.
Abby Browning, Chief, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services – Office of Private Sector and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Coordination said “Partnerships with the private sector have been invaluable as we respond to the pandemic and the needs of our essential workers. Together with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development – Office of the Small Business Advocate, Cal OES is happy to support small businesses with a supply of much needed PPE, keeping these essential workers healthy.”
According to Ms. Browning, CVEP was one of only three organizations statewide that reached out directly to OES for the PPE. CVEP made the PPE available to local businesses operating legally, with employees unable to telecommute/work from home.
The Hunter Johnsen team created a web page dedicated to the giveaway at cvep.com/millionmaskgiveaway, and assisted with the public outreach efforts; a sampling of coverage can be found at cvep.com/press.
CVEP received a second order of PPE in January, and distribution continues to businesses in need.