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Caption: Mary Parks bakes cookies for medical workers, Office of Emergency Management staff, and Annapolis firefighters in the Hilton Garden Inn’s kitchen. Photo courtesy of Hilton Garden Inn).

The #Masks4Annapolis initiative is proof that the saying “one good deed leads to another” is more than wishful thinking.  It began when Mary Parks, the Director of Sales for the Hilton Garden Inn Annapolis, was delivering cookies she had baked at the hotel to first responders.  In a conversation with one cookie recipient, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director Kevin Simmons shared with Mary that many communities in Annapolis still needed masks.

#Masks4Annapolis 

Mary realized a mask-making contest could bring Annapolitans together while helping those without access to masks. When Mary proposed the idea to Director Simmons and Mayor Gavin Buckley, both jumped on board.

Caption: Masks with submission form, Photo courtesy of The Mayor’s Office.

A shared passion about making a difference brought in businesses as well as international recording artist and hometown favorite, Good Charlotte; to lend their support. The restaurant community has donated prizes for the contest and provided drop boxes to collect the masks. They have also helped spread the word via social media with Facebook videos and Instagram posts.

The Contest

#Masks4Annapolis seeks to collect 1,000 adult and 1,000 child masks by July 31st. Weekly prizes include gift cards, dinners, drinks, and hotel stays from Annapolis area businesses.

Annapolis skyline on a mask, Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Office.

Donated masks are collected every Friday from designated drop boxes. Winners are selected for Most Annapolitan, Most Maryland, Most Patriotic, and Most Creative. Mayor Buckley, Chief Simmons, Senator Sarah Elfreth, Rob Levitt of Creating Communities, and others have served as judges.

Good Charlotte. Photo courtesy of the band, Good Charlotte.

At the conclusion of the contest, Good Charlotte will pick the grand prize winner from the group of weekly winners. The prize is a two-night stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Annapolis Downtown, dinner for two at Kitchen on West Street, and dinner for two at Latitude 38. The contributor of the most masks will receive a special prize.

So far, the creativity of the submissions has made it hard for the judges to select weekly winners. Themes range from crabs, Maryland, mustaches, and built-in straw holes; to name a few. By the end of the fourth week mask-makers had donated nearly 1,250 adult masks and 650 children’s masks.

Mask of America, Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s office.

How to Donate Masks

To enter, create a cloth mask and submit it with an entry form in a plastic bag at one of the local drop-off sites. Contestants can also mail their mask and entry form to the Hilton Garden Inn Annapolis Downtown at 174 West Street, Annapolis, MD 21401. Click here for entry forms, drop box locations, a list of business partners, and more.

Need to use a straw? Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s Office.

Seeing the people of Annapolis, the city government and local businesses work together on this project has set forth a great example on what other communities can do to help people during the pandemic. The groundswell of grassroots support has grown largely by word-of-mouth and through various social media channels. A representative of the Mayor’s office noted that organizing the contest “has been a smooth process and the biggest challenge was really just pulling everything together in such a quick time frame.”

Various masks. Photo courtesy of the Mayor’s office.

The Mayor’s Office and OEM will continue to need masks and hope that Annapolitans will continue to share their creative and generous spirit throughout the pandemic.

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Jane Green

Jane Green finally tired of her daily 100-mile round-trip commute to her federal government job as an expert on international issues and is now spending her days enjoying all that Annapolis and the surrounding area have to offer. Jane was raised in Indiana, receiving a B.A. in political science from Indiana University, but came east to earn a master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She and her family moved to Annapolis in 1986. An avid genealogist, Jane discovered that she was not the first of her family to live in Anne Arundel County—that honor goes to a 7th great-grandfather. Jane and her husband, Tom, have two children, both married, three grandchildren, two dogs, and two granddoodles. Tom is the founder and president of DesignAmerica, an aerospace software development company. Jane’s favorite things about living in Annapolis include gazing out at the Bay from her deck, exploring new restaurants and shops, and attending musical and historical programs.