Sewing Tips

“Where do I Send Masks?”

March 29, 2020

You’ve made masks, now what? Many sewists jumped right into Mask Mania and now don’t know where to donate. (If you live in a city that may sound strange but the virus has not hit hard in more rural areas.) Things to consider:

  • delivering local (drop-offs) is faster than shipping distances away
  • but densely-populated areas (especially near transportation hubs) have more urgent needs, so be open to mailing away
  • urgent care centers have higher needs, but auxiliary medical services (who may have sent all of their supplies to hospitals) are also in need

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Here’s what I suggest:

#1 Check with people you know in the health care space to see if they honestly can use masks. The last thing you want is for your hard work to go to waste. Some medical centers such as Allina Health are accepting masks but apparently not planning to use them.

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#2: Check with the hospital closest to you. There are only 3 Covid-19 cases in my little town and I don’t know if they still here or if they’ve been sent to Boston, but a quick check on our town hospital website says they’re accepting donations (but it doesn’t sound like they “need” them):

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#3. Check with hospitals across your country. Here are some databases of medical facilities in the U.S and what they need (I imagine other countries have similar lists). Some programs are only accepting specific mask patterns, others have more generalized requests for either the pleated “surgical” style, or the shaped “Olsen” style, of mask. Click on any blue link, then right-click to open in new window:


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#4. Join a Facebook group dedicated to mask-making. Here are some that I like, that post information on where to send masks:


https://www.facebook.com/groups/2255629811405276/


https://www.facebook.com/groups/884127602057599/


https://www.facebook.com/groups/547100025924954/?fref=nf


https://www.facebook.com/groups/1534597520030136/

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#5. Consider other support staff who may be going without PPE if all of their supplies were sent to the hospitals:

  • doctor’s offices
  • first responders
  • senior living facilities
  • cleaning staff
  • physical therapists
  • home health aides
  • transit workers
  • mail carriers
  • grocery store clerks

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April 21, 2020

How things have changed in just a few weeks! In many states in the U.S., it is now REQUIRED to wear a mask when entering a grocery store. So, be sure to keep in mind the following people when distributing masks:

  • Yourself!
  • Your family: don’t be like “the shoemaker’s children who have no shoes”
  • Your extended family and friends: check in and see if they are in need. I really thought that by this point there would be fabric masks in stores, but I have yet to see one…..
  • Small businesses: restaurants in particular have been hurt very hard by the shutdowns. A meal not eaten at a restaurant can never be replaced….as opposed to a product in a store that can be purchased later. If your favorite coffee-shop or pub is doing curbside pick-up, consider donating masks for the staff.
donation to my fave coffee shop

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If you have additional information that I should add, please let me know.

Thank you,

Janet

6 Comments

  • Paula

    The American Sewing Guild and the Sewing & Craft Alliance are maintaining the weneedmasks.org site and updating it on a regular basis. Many organizations have registered (by their home state) with the site and have indicated their needs and where to send/deliver the masks. The site also includes directions for the Olson mask, which is what some facilities are requesting.

  • Natalia Ord

    Hi, Janet. I have really appreciated your posts on masks, and the important links you posted. Thank you so very much! I’m commenting here on your most recent post, but it’s more about your other post with the mask pattern list. Here in Canada our hospitals are not (yet?) requesting fabric masks, but as the advice is changing recently which I hope will lead to wider acceptance in the public, I want to make masks for our local homeless population, with whom my husband and son work. They find it very difficult to distance due to their living circumstances, and my husband and son feel that masks could really help. He says they are feeling very vulnerable right now and would definitely appreciate them.

    Since you have done so much research and probably tried a lot of the patterns you posted already, would you be able to advise me on the quickest patterns to sew while still being effective? Ease of wearing would also be top priority as these folks may not continue to wear something that is too tight, hard to put and keep on, or hard to breathe through.

    My instinctive thought would be for a knit/t-shirt fabric, perhaps 3 layers? Fitted style. Elastic for ease of putting and keeping on. (They would probably just be washing them with their laundry, though we might be able to organize sterilizing them in the oven if necessary.)

    Thank you for any help.
    Sincerely
    Natalia

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