If you’re feeling confused about the guidelines surrounding masks to protect yourself from COVID-19, there’s good reason.
In January, the CDC said masks should be reserved for healthcare workers, people who are sick and caring for the sick. In February, the U.S. surgeon general urged the public to stop buying them. Now, the CDC is advising Americans to wear cloth face coverings such has handmade masks, bandanas, and scarves in public places. (Note: They are not recommending the N95 masks that should be reserved only for health care workers on the frontlines of this fight.)
One thing that has remained consistent is that there are plenty of healthcare workers and hospitals in desperate need of masks, which is why some Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area “craftivists” came up with the Million Mask Challenge.
A group of Indianapolis individuals and organizations has joined the cause. With efforts spearheaded by Megan Fernandez, PATTERN, Crimson Tate, Indiana Fashion Foundation, People for Urban Progress and more, the Million Mask Challenge Indy is seeking volunteers to cut and sew masks, in addition to collecting fabric donations.
StitchWorks, a sewing facility operated by PATTERN and the Indiana Fashion Foundation, is also collaborating with the Dallara IndyCar Factory to create masks and protective gowns. They’re currently producing 2,500 gowns for Eskenazi Hospital.
The Million Mask Challenge Indy also provides a place for healthcare providers to request masks, information about the preferred pattern, a video tutorial, and drop-off locations for cut fabric pieces (more details provided below in the the video).
The mask pattern Million Mask Challenge Indy is using is large enough to be tied over an N95 respirator, to try to protect the surface from contamination and attempt to extend the life of the far better protective device.
So far the group is fulfilling orders of close to 6,000 masks for hospitals and individual healthcare workers who have contacted them with requests.
If you need masks, submit a request via this form.
If you would like to cut, sew, or donate cotton fabric or elastic, complete this form.
For more information or to contact the organizers, visit the group’s Facebook Page: Million Mask Challenge Indy or contact Megan Fernandez at (317) 317-1538.
Leslie Bailey is the co-founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Indy Maven. She cut 100 masks by hand for Million Mask Challenge in three hours before her little brother mentioned he had a machine at JT Composites that could cut that number in about five minutes. He’s now assisting with the challenge.