Judy Barrett, Chairperson of the Laois Age Friendly Older Peoples Forum with one of the 2,000 masks they distributed to Laois elderly.
Some 2,000 elderly people in Laois received free reusable face coverings this year, thanks to Laois Age Friendly Alliance.
The masks were given out in January and February through libraries and groups like Meals on Wheels all around the county.
David Murphy manages the Age Friendly programme for Laois County Council.
"Late last year the Laois Age Friendly and the Laois Healthy Ireland Programmes came together to jointly fund the purchasing of 2,000 face coverings. It was believed that the gift of masks would be especially welcomed by cocooners and older people in general as they are now a mandatory requirement for all essential services including public transport since August last year. This is a new requirement that looks like it will be with us for a while to come and having a face covering to hand is a new habit that people are having to get used to. Having a reusable one is also environmentally friendly," he said.
They were delivered to Laois County Council in early January and their distribution commenced immediately.
"The Laois library services were putting together an activity pack to help cocooners stay busy during these testing times. It was felt that this was an obvious medium to start the distribution of the face coverings to deserving recipients," Mr Murphy said.
The masks were also sent out to members of the Laois Age Friendly Older Peoples Forum, Active Retirement Groups, ICA groups, Meals on Wheels.
Also helping hand them out were Laois Sports Partnership, Laois Partnership Company and Youth Work Ireland Laois, by including them in packs to their clients and family members of their clients.
"We would like to acknowledge that this project would not have been possible without the funding it has received from The Healthy Ireland Fund, supported by the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs an initiative of the Government of Ireland, administered by Laois County Council, LCDC and Healthy Ireland Laois," he said.