5,500 masks donated to RJ Donovan facility

Two women wearing masks stand apart while exchanging a package.
Brahmankyrie passes masks to Raquel Buckel, Chief Deputy Warden.

By Rebecca Kroll, Associate Governmental Program Analyst

While Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF) prepared for the San Diego County face mask mandate, effective May 1, the community was hard at work cutting, sewing, ironing, sanitizing, and packaging thousands of masks to donate to the institution.

The Brahman Project, in collaboration with several dedicated groups of seamstresses, delivered 5,500 face masks to the RJDCF team. The masks were handed off to Raquel Buckel, Chief Deputy Warden, and Marcus Pollard, Warden (A). Both expressed their appreciation.

“Words cannot express how much we appreciate the generosity of our community. We commend the seamstresses and volunteers that devoted their time and money to make this campaign a success. Their commitment to spreading positivity has replaced the spread of fear,” said Buckel.

The donated masks were made with unique fabric of varying colors and patterns. Inmates were allowed to choose two masks that support their individuality in addition to their State issued masks that they had received. Days later the incarcerated men were sporting their new looks on the yard and in their housing units.

The vibrant colors and comedic patterns make mask-wearing fun at a time when the country is experiencing hardship. When RJDCF volunteers were asked to stay home for the overall health and safety of those who live and work inside the facility, there was a void.

“The Mercy For Prisons mask campaign started for all the people that live, work and serve at Donovan Prison. Even my mum and our Australian community made over 250 masks that were shipped over here. We also had a shipment of 1,000 masks sent from Vietnam, thanks to our amazing Masketeers Seamstresses,” said Brahmankyrie. “The Masketeers handmade 4,800 masks, with many of our other members hand sewing masks, that
totaled about 1500. Their love, dedication and commitment to ensuring that every member of our prison community has at least one mask, has totally blown my mind.”

“I hope that every person who receives one of these handmade masks feels the love and blessings that were poured in to each and every one and I hope that in this time of uncertainty that one thing is known for sure, that each and every individual is important, valued, and cared for very much.”