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Shot Caller: A Podcast by Shannon Sagawe

May 3, 2020

John Wood (founder of A Room to Read) and his wife Amy Powell (co-founder of Toasst Wines) inspire us with their story of -#Operation Mask Lift- bringing KN95 masks to those most in need

"None of us can do everything but all of us can do something!"

It all started with an email from a friend in Oregon!  When Amy heard that a doctor friend could only get 1 KN95 mask every 2 weeks to protect himself from Covid-19 as a paediatrician, she was incensed.  She expressed her frustration to her husband John Wood- who has a history of righting the education wrongs of this world--and together they sought out to source and ship masks to the neediest hospitals in the US, UK and Canada.

In the last month, they have delivered, all via volunteers, over 250,000 masks to front line workers.

Shut Down Your Social Media & Help Those On The Frontline

The question for us, as John and Amy see it, is how can we help the maximum amount of people in the shortest amount of time?  Doctors, Nurses, Fire Departments, EMT's, Janitors in hospitals and more are sacrificing their lives.  John and Amy's message is clear,  "Go do something to help those on the frontline."  

Plant and Cell based Meat

Both John and Amy are actively involved in this space and we discuss a new movement called A Billion Veg out of Singapore.  They have built a global community that catalyzes millions of people and businesses to do what’s right for their body, the animals and the planet.  (minute 36) Amy describes them as If Yelp and Instagram had a vegan baby!  John is also a big fan of a product called Happy Nuggets by OmniMeat, another very fast growing, plant based meat company, giving consumers healthier as well as tastier options.

Economic Devastation

Amy points out that working and studying from home presents huge challenges to poorer communities without access to broadband or home computers/I-Pads.  There aren't any quick fixes, but highlighting these challenges along with insisting that local and regional governments work to connect poorer neighbourhoods would be a good start.

History will Judge us

Ultimately, John and Amy believe that "history will judge us and decide if we were worthy of the mantel of leadership."  We all can truly make a difference, one mask at a time and one book at a time!

Anyone wishing to donate to #operationmasklift can make a contribution via PAYPAL at

John Wood Twitter

Room To Read




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