The Million Mask Challenge

Information submitted by Kenn Speicher, Bi-District Disaster Response Coordinator; Arlington District Missions Coordinator

Join Us In Sewing Face Masks, Help keep Virginians safe.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our frontline workers are in desperate need of protection supplies. And now, the Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone wear protective face masks when they go out in public. Homemade masks can’t replace medical and surgical masks, but they can serve an important role in slowing the spread of the disease and keeping us safe.  

You can help! We’re reaching out to Arlington and Alexandria congregation members to sew protective masks. Many have already stepped up. Thank you! If you haven’t, join us. Whether you own a sewing machine or not, you can help slow the spread of COVID-19.

There are many sites that will help you get started. For our area, try www.millionmaskchallenge.com., developed by local volunteers. At last count, 847 volunteers have made more than 10,000 masks.

You’ll find everything you need. There are patterns and instructions for a basic mask and two N95 mask covers, which enable greater reuse to help relieve the shortage of the urgently needed N95 medical masks. One of the mask covers requires no sewing! Plus, Million Mask Challenge volunteers deliver. There are packing instructions on the website. You can request drop-off or pick-up. And. they will deliver them to those who need them most, giving frontline health providers first priority.

Remember: social distancing is our best line of defense against COVID-19. So stay 6’ apart. Stay at home if you can. Wash your hands even more than your mommas always told you. And … let’s get sewing!

More options:

Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy has challenged congregation members across the state to sew 200 masks each, providing a link to a face mask pattern from a New York Times article. These are handmade masks for frontline workers who don’t work directly with patients: bus drivers, grocery and pharmacy staff, farmworkers, delivery drivers, and countless others

No-Sew Design for Home Use. From Japanese Creations, this pattern only requires a handkerchief and hair tie. This design is quickly made and serves for going out in public places.

“Filter Pocket” masks. During the shortages, some area hospitals have requested homemade masks as an added precaution against COVID-19 for health workers not working directly with patients. Linda Heller of Cranford UMC referred us to this pattern being used by Springfield Quilters Unlimited, “How to Sew a Bias Tape Surgical Face Mask with Flexible Nose,“ which has a “filter pocket” for adding further barriers against the coronavirus. They have made more than 100 masks for Inova Hospital.