Operation Protect Our Protectors on Friday delivered food and masks to first responders and medical staff at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. It's one of the many stops they plan to make to fulfill a shortage of masks in the region.
Co-founders Peter Genovese and Jeannine Alsous formed the nonprofit nearly a month ago.
"We can't twiddle our thumbs in the middle of a crisis and figure out what we're going to do," said Alsous. "We want to give back."
They've done so with donations and the help of volunteers who designed and are sewing hundreds of masks as well as headbands to help avoid wear and tear on the ears.
"They're going to first responders, doctors, police, firefighters," said Genovese. "We have requests from everyone that you can imagine.”
Filling the complimentary orders has been a heavy lift. However, both Genovese and Alsous say the endeavor has been worth it to live up to its operation and namesake to protect those on the front lines of the coronavirus fight.
"This virus is hitting us hard," added Genovese. "I can't sit home and not do anything."
"We wanted to do the best we could with the resources we have to bring our community together," said Alsous.