Several Panola entities combine for masks giveaway 

Published 12:39 pm Friday, May 29, 2020

Members of the Panola County chapter of the NAACP Gloria Tucker and Kimberlyn Seals will be among many volunteers giving masks to citizens around the county Saturday, May 30.


Since April 6, when the Mississippi State Department of Health began recommending masks be worn for personal and public protection due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state, many citizens have responded with puzzlement – about exactly what masks have been deemed effective, and where or how they can be obtained.    

Then in early May, as Gov. Tate Reeves began easing restrictions and some businesses started reopening with employees required to wear masks, many unequipped customers and patrons, in turn, became required to do the same.

The ongoing confusion about mask protocol will be put to ease on a local level on May 30, as free face coverings will be made available to the public at a series of distribution points throughout the county.

On Saturday at 10 a.m., the Batesville Chapter of the NAACP in conjunction with Miss. Rep. Lataisha Jackson, the Panola County Board of Supervisors and the Emergency Management office, members of Divine 9, and the mayors and aldermen of all the municipalities in the county will see the community event through.

About 1,250 masks are expected to be distributed.

I am elated to join the various elected officials, local, and county community leaders as we work collaboratively to provide access to the limited resources we’ve received to promote safety measures in efforts of stopping the spread of COVID 19,” Jackson said.

With limit of two per person, masks will be handed out at the Como City Park, Crenshaw Fire Department, Fresher World Barbershop in Sardis, Macedonia Community Center on Curtis Road, Courtland Fire Department, Crowder City Hall, Pope City Hall, and Patton Lane Community Center, until supplies are exhausted.

Gloria Tucker, president of the Batesville Chapter, and integral in the coordination of the masks giveaway, expressed enthusiasm about the group’s leadership role, and encouraged locals in need to make it out.  “People need masks and to be safe,” Tucker said pointedly.

Also Rep. Lataisha Jackson, who has worked with Tucker, rounded up elected officials of Panola County in support of the mask giveaways.  Mayors Jerry Autrey, Jamie Howell, Oscare Barlow, Debbie Aven, Lula Palmer, and Everette Hill will represent their respective cities and towns.

Emergency Operations Coordinator Daniel Cole is also pitching in, and encourages citizens to continue to maintain caution, and seek protective equipment when available.

“This is supposed to be the first of  what I hope to be several giveaways.  We have a limited number of masks to start off with, but we’re supposed to be getting more in,” said Cole.  “It’s gonna be on a first come, first serve basis.  As far as getting the citizens to understand the need for social distancing with masks – whether it’s an N95 mask, a surgical mask, or anything that can stop the spread of moisture particulates in the air.”   

He added, “we’re seeing more cases across the state every day – more fatalities.  The more we do as citizens to prevent the spread, the sooner that things will return to whatever the new normal is gonna be.”

Although contributing entities received masks from different sources, Cole indicated that each mask used contributes to the community working together.  “It’s a collaborative effort to get masks out to the citizens.”