County of Marin - News Releases - Supporting Essential Workers

For Immediate Release
September 08, 2020

Marin Stands Together to Support Essential Workers

MarinTogether, a public-private coalition, launches an innovate public health and economic project in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood

San Rafael, CA – Locally sourced and sewn face coverings are now available free of charge to essential workers in San Rafael’s Canal area courtesy of a new public-private coalition that includes Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the City of San Rafael, Kaiser Permanente, Canal Alliance, and Equipe.

Omar Carrera, Executive Director of Canal Alliance, wears a face covering.Face coverings, such as the one being worn by Canal Alliance Executive Director Omar Carrera, will be distributed to essential workers throughout the Canal area. The neighborhood has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our essential workers have been showing up through the COVID–19 pandemic to provide critical support to our county infrastructure and services,” said Omar Carrera, Executive Director of Canal Alliance. “They have kept our lights on, water in our taps, and have ensured we have food available to feed our families. We’re thrilled to be giving back to them.”

“We have the opportunity to support both our local crafts community and our essential workers during this time of financial uncertainty,” said Johanna Leestma La Fleur, owner and co-founder of Equipe, who is spearheading the production. “It’s a win-win.”

The County of Marin, the City of San Rafael, and Kaiser Permanente provided the funding for the initial 2,000 masks. The coalition will be distributing the masks in kits with educational materials and testing information at several locations around the Canal area beginning this week.

“Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to addressing inequities in health care, and this project is one example of how to remove these barriers,” said Karina Kalbfleisch, Kaiser Permanente Health Education Worksite Wellness Assistant Manager. “We are empowering the community to create the very tools and resources they need to stop the spread of the virus.”

“Face coverings are one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID–19, so this initiative can have a real impact on the county’s hardest-hit neighborhood, not only by protecting essential workers but also providing the area an economic boost,” said HHS Director Benita McLarin.

City of San Rafael employees have been busy working with their close partners such as businesses in East San Rafael such as EO Products to donate to the cause.

“We are also working to get some of our larger local business on board to help us with the goal of ensuring everyone in the Canal who needs a mask gets a mask,” said Danielle O'Leary, City of San Rafael’s Director of Economic Development and Innovation. “Our hope is to create a true partnership across Marin to support our essential workers.”

Marin County residents have an opportunity to join in the effort by purchasing additional masks on the Equipe website and by sharing the link on their social media networks using the hashtag #MarinTogether.


Laine Hendricks
Public Information Officer
County Administrator's Office

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite #325
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7496
Email: Laine Hendricks
County Administrator website