After being involved with a number of community food drives, Valentina Funari Ferri, the 12-year-old daughter of Greater Trenton Board Member and Bristol-Myers Squibb global lead for the Organization for Latino Achievement Leticia Ferri, became keenly aware of how expensive masks can be and how many families, who rely on food stamps, are unable to afford the personal protective equipment required to go anywhere.

For two days, Valentina, who lives in Skillman, NJ, along with her friends: 12-year-old Olivia Trochu (also from Skilman) and 13-year-old Luisa Buss from Princeton, NJ, purposed in their hearts to conduct a mask drive in an effort to help those who cannot afford them. To meet the challenge, they set up a table with flyers, created banners, posted boards throughout and launched an effective social media campaign while also engaging with cars and cyclists who passed by.

With smiles on their faces, hearts filled with compassion and a compelling sign that read “mask drive: donate to people who need them,” they were proud to report the collection of more than 1,500 masks to help those in need. Looking no further then the City of Trenton as a recipient of this generous donation, the girls displayed behavior becoming of angels as they rolled in boxes of masks into Trenton City Hall on August 13, 2020.

Mayor W. Reed Gusciora, joined by City of Trenton’s Recreation, Natural Resources & Culture Director Maria Richardson and Greater Trenton Chief Executive Officer George Sowa, thanked the girls for their noble efforts and issued a signed certificate for their unselfish act of kindness for helping those in need.

“As we continue to navigate this unprecedented crisis, it’s inspiring to see students like Valentina, Luisa and Olivia who are driven to help those in need,” said Mayor Gusciora. “We have a continued need for PPE not just for the front-line responders in our fire, EMS, and police departments, but also for our senior community, who still have difficulty accessing or affording masks.”

“We appreciate you taking the time to organize this effort and support the residents of Trenton,” said Director Richardson. “This donation will ensure that more Trentonians are prepared for the ongoing fight against COVID-19.”

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