LUBBOCK, Texas — At the start of the pandemic, the Azam brothers knew they wanted to do something to help healthcare workers when there was a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment, so they started their own organization called “Mask for Cause.”
They’ve been hand-making and selling masks – donating all the profits to local charities, like the Ronald McDonald House Charities for the Southwest on Monday.
“It was during the summer, we were just pondering what we can do with our time, because everything is shut down, and nothing’s going on,” said Farjaad Azam, the founder of Mask for Cause. “So we were like, ‘Okay, the doctors are struggling, let’s help them out.’”
Farjaad is an 18-year-old freshman at Texas Tech. His brother, Salah, is a 14-year-old, still living in his hometown of Southlake, Texas. Their father is a doctor, so when they realized how in demand PPE was at the start of the pandemic, the brothers wanted to give back in some way.
That’s how Mask for Cause was born.
“We decided to make all these masks and sell them off $5 each, and then we donate the proceeds to a different charity a month,” said Farjaad.
So far they’ve raised $5,015. In the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, they donated $500 of that along with 50 masks to Lubbock’s Ronald McDonald House – a nonprofit that helps reduce the burden for families of children needing extensive medical care.
“COVID has had a huge impact on us, just like any other business,” said Emmanuel Ramirez, President & CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Southwest. “Especially on charities, it has had a huge impact. We don’t receive funds from the government, from no entities along those lines.”
It costs $15 a day for a family to stay in the house, where they have access to meals, laundry services and other basic living necessities while their child is undergoing imperative medical care. Families living in the house are not required to pay for their stay.
“So if you do the math, we’re gonna be able to house even one family for about a month,” said Ramirez.
In addition, the brothers have a deep, personal connection to their mission.
“On New Year’s Eve, my grandfather passed away due to COVID complications. So he was perfectly healthy beforehand,” said Farjaad. “So we thought like, okay, now it’s real, like, it’s just another statistic now, so we gotta step it up a little bit.”
As the brothers continue giving, they hope to honor their grandfather’s legacy in all their work. They ask the public what many have been echoing all this time — wear a mask.