Free face masks are available at the Pojoaque Pueblo. All you have to do is visit a vending machine – KOAT New Mexico

The Pojoaque Pueblo is thinking outside the box when it comes to keeping people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.On Thursday, community leaders placed a vending machine full of free surgical masks inside the Pojoaque Supermarket for members of the general public.”A lot of people don’t have access to things. Tests or masks, so we’re trying to make things as easy as possible,” Karl Duncan, executive director of the Poeh Cultural Center, said.The innovative idea came to staff members at the cultural center last week.Like other areas throughout New Mexico, Duncan said the pueblo has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases among its population.With the new concept, people are now able to receive needed supplies without any unnecessary contact.”Last year, we did a lot of drive-thru events. We’d hand out custom masks and things like that,” Duncan said. ” we’re trying to reduce people coming in, and there is a bit of a rise here. We wanted to keep everybody safe.”Over a thousand face masks have been provided by the Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribal Police Department.Jake Viarrial, tourism coordinator for the cultural center, said half of the supplies were already gone the first day the vending machine operated. He and his wife now spend their time keeping up with demand. “Every day, it’s kind of been an experiment, trying to see how long you can get them to last,” Viarrial said. “In the morning, my wife and I are there bagging masks, so that by the afternoon, we could have full.”Despite the hard work, Viarrial said he isn’t stopping any time soon. All in hopes of protecting those both on and off the reservation.”You can keep yourself safe, but that’s not going to do anything for the whole community. If we’re going to want to heal, we have to do it as a community,” Viarrial said. Leaders are already discussing the addition of more vending machines throughout the pueblo. Talks are also focusing on the types of masks being provided, and the inclusion of more, like N95s.

The Pojoaque Pueblo is thinking outside the box when it comes to keeping people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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On Thursday, community leaders placed a vending machine full of free surgical masks inside the Pojoaque Supermarket for members of the general public.

“A lot of people don’t have access to things. Tests or masks, so we’re trying to make things as easy as possible,” Karl Duncan, executive director of the Poeh Cultural Center, said.

pojoaque pueblo gets creative with face masks

Hearst Owned

Pictured: Jake Viarrial restocks the Pojoaque Supermarket’s vending machine with surgical face masks.

The innovative idea came to staff members at the cultural center last week.

Like other areas throughout New Mexico, Duncan said the pueblo has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases among its population.

With the new concept, people are now able to receive needed supplies without any unnecessary contact.

“Last year, we did a lot of drive-thru events. We’d hand out custom masks and things like that,” Duncan said. “[However] we’re trying to reduce people coming in, and there is a bit of a rise here. We wanted to keep everybody safe.”

pojoaque pueblo gets creative with face masks

Hearst Owned

pojoaque pueblo gets creative with face masks

Hearst Owned

Over a thousand face masks have been provided by the Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribal Police Department.

Jake Viarrial, tourism coordinator for the cultural center, said half of the supplies were already gone the first day the vending machine operated.

He and his wife now spend their time keeping up with demand.

“Every day, it’s kind of been an experiment, trying to see how long you can get them to last,” Viarrial said. “In the morning, my wife and I are there bagging masks, so that by the afternoon, we could have [the vending machine] full.”

Despite the hard work, Viarrial said he isn’t stopping any time soon.

All in hopes of protecting those both on and off the reservation.

“You can keep yourself safe, but that’s not going to do anything for the whole community. If we’re going to want to heal, we have to do it as a community,” Viarrial said.

Leaders are already discussing the addition of more vending machines throughout the pueblo.

Talks are also focusing on the types of masks being provided, and the inclusion of more, like N95s.

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