In 1998, Azita Milanian was jogging in the foothills of Altadena when she came across a newborn infant, umbilical cord still attached, buried alive in the dirt.
She rescued that child, who made a remarkable recovery at Huntington Hospital.
Now she has dedicated her business and the nonprofit she founded 22 years ago to protecting children and medical professionals to during the coronavirus crisis.
Milanian’s Altadena-based TOSCA Fashion normally ballroom dance costumes. But with Coronaviris crisis raging, she has turned to making face masks to be donated to doctors, nurses and caretakers throughout Los Angeles, with the extra masks to be sold to the general public.
Proceeds of the sale will go to making more masks as well as to Milanian’s nonprofit that promotes the safety and well-being of children worldwide.
That day she found the baby inspired Milanian to establish Children of One Planet, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that primarily helps children who are victims of trafficking.
Milanian said she decided to open their clothing factory and make masks after Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti called on anyone with a sewing machine to make masks as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to threaten the Southland.
“I feel sad to put my children trafficking campaign on hold because of this devastating time in the world with coronavirus,” Milanian said. “This has affected so many kids in the world.”
Her nonprofit was raising money this year to put banners and educational postcards at all public parks and schools throughout the country to educate children and families about child trafficking. Now, much of the money will be used toward making the face masks, Milanian said.
Milanian is now seeking donations to help TOSCA Fashion make more face masks as the need for them grows every day. The first 1,000 masks will be donated to a children’s hospital in Los Angeles, and some will be donated to other places that need them, like retirement homes.
The masks follow guidelines provided by health authorities, are hand-washable, made of 100 percent cotton, are double-layered, and have pockets for inserting filters for additional protection.
They are accepting orders from people who would like to donate the face masks to their favorite hospitals or care homes.
For more information, call (818) 960-8654.
To order online, visit www.childrenofoneplanet.org.