Making a Difference

The middle of April, Tim Allen of Carmel Gives gave us a call and asked the Carmel Residence Association if we could assist them in finding projects for them to fund. Their model is to fund local businesses in a way that they can produce a product that will assist them in keeping their business open while providing a benefit to the local community. A Win/Win situation.

Our Executive Committee quickly approved the relationship and we got to work. When it turned out that Carmel Gives would need another partner to facilitate payments to the businesses, the Carmel Chamber quickly agreed to become a partner in this effort.

Since it was clear that face masks were going to be required in the near future we selected that as our first project. We located out-of-work seamstresses in Carmel-by-the-Sea and they agreed to become part of the project. A quick eBlast to our CRA membership resulted in a great selection of donated fabric showing up within hours. By the next day we were producing beautiful, high quality face masks. We also developed a "Made-in-Carmel-by-the-Sea" branding, instructional cards and packaged them up. Here a few samples out of more than 30 reversible styles we've made to date! 

Initially, we distributed them for free at Nielsen's Market and Flaherty's and Village Corner. Azniv Amirkhanian, the owner of Nielsen Bros Market was happy to be participate. She said, "Customers were asking us about face masks and when Dale came in with Carmel Gives washable fabric face masks we were thrilled. Our customers love them and leave with a smile on their face!"  Since then, other restaurants, including Basil, Treehouse Cafe, Vesuvios, Grasings, Carmel Bakery and the Kristi Reimer's great store EcoCarmel were added.

Next, face masks were provided to senior housing at the Carmel Foundation and to their meal delivery recipients each week. Other senior housing apartments in Monterey, Carmel Neighbors and others who indicated a need were also supplied. Hotels may be a future opportunity when they start to open.

To date, over 1,200 face unique masks have been produced and we continue to re-stock those existing locations. Ultimately we will likely produce nearly 2,000 face masks as we hope our fabricators will be able to return to there regular customers.

When CRA Board Member Mary Condry came up with idea of providing masks to many hundreds of farm worker family members in the Salinas Valley we found a local source. Jackson Figge, and his fellow high student at Stevenson School have a clothing company called Flowers on Saturn and we contacted him to obtain 1,000 face masks at a discounted price which were then delivered to the farm worker families. 

Just this week, an idea that was originally hatched by Library Director and Community Activities Director Ashley Wright, Carmel Chamber CEO Jenny MacMurdo and Carmel Unified School Supervisor Barb Dill-Varga came to fruition. Driven by the hard working Ken Spilfogel of Flaherty's  and Village Corner restaurant, local restaurants are now producing 1,500 nutritious meals a week to the Carmel Unified School District! This is a great example of how we can work together as a team to solve problems quickly and efficiently!

Thanks to Tim Allen and Carmel Gives' funders for coming up with this innovative way to solve problems! If you have an idea for a WIN/WIN project in the Peninsula send an email to [email protected]