By Jon King /

A free COVID-19 mask giveaway is planned for later this week in Howell.

The Area Agency on Aging 1-B will be holding a drive-up facemask distribution event from noon to 2pm this Friday, February 26th at the Howell Senior Center, 925 W. Grand River Avenue. The agency has approximately 2,000 KN95 masks to give away at the event, which will be available to those 60 and older. Communications Manager Kathleen Yanik tells WHMI that family members may also pick up masks on behalf of an older loved one. People can receive two masks per person in their household, up to a total of ten.

To help limit contact, people are asked to stay in their vehicles. An AAA 1-B staff member will load items into trunks as seniors drive up.

Yanik says the event is part of the MI Mask Aid Project, an initiative of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Community Service Commission. There will also be a limited supply of emergency food boxes and personal care packages for older adults. Those will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The emergency boxes contain a variety of shelf-stable food, including cereal, canned vegetables, canned meat, rice, pasta and peanut butter. The boxes can create 22 meals, and a sheet with meal ideas and recipes is included. The food was secured in partnership with MDHHS, the Food Bank Council of Michigan and Gleaner’s Community Food Bank.

The personal care packages contain personal care products, along with activities to help reduce social isolation. Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and a toothbrush are some of the items included, along with playing cards and large-print crossword puzzles.

Michael Karson, AAA 1-B president and CEO, said the event is all about giving seniors in the community what they need to stay safe during the pandemic. “These masks are going to help them stay protected if they have to go out,” he explains. “And the food boxes and personal care supplies are hopefully going to reduce the number of times they have to do that.”

For more information about the event or to find assistance and resources for older adults, Yanik says people can call the AAA 1-B Resource Center at (800) 852-7795 or visit