Chicago launches citywide donation drive for face masks

April 22, 2020
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Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications is launching the “Chicago Together! Make a Mask, Give a Mask, Wear a Mask” citywide cloth mask drive starting this weekend.

Residents can make donate homemade cloth masks at 29th Ward Ald. Chris Taliaferro’s office and several West Side churches on Tuesdays and Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. through May 16.

The masks will be provided to homeless shelters, community health clinics and other organizations to prevent outbreaks among the city’s most high-risk residents, which data has shown to be vulnerable residents on Chicago’s West and South sides.

“We are all in this together, and donation drives like this represent Chicago at its finest as we respond to a crisis in unison and keep our most vulnerable residents safe,” Lightfoot said in a statement.

“The more we do for each other, the faster we’ll get through this crisis, which is why I’m asking all Chicagoans to donate homemade cloth masks to support our fellow residents who are most vulnerable.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance recommending the use of cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Cloth face coverings help prevent people who have the virus and may not know it from transmitting it to others.

The Chicago Department of Public Health has included the CDC Guidelines on How to Make a Cloth Mask at chicago.gov/coronavirus. Masks can be made from recycled cloth such as T-shirts, bandanas, jeans, thick cotton and other breathable fabrics.

To be sure masks are protective, the city urges residents to read the guidance carefully, including washing hands frequently while making masks; washing and drying the fabric before starting; and using three layers of fabric.

Completed masks should be placed in a clear, sealable plastic bag. When residents are donating masks, they must put them in tightly closed, clean boxes or bags while wearing gloves and a mask. Residents should indicate the quantity they will be donating.

Here are the drop-off locations in Austin:

  • Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward) | 6272 W. North Ave.
  • Austin Church of Christ | 4750 W. Washington Blvd.
  • Greater St. John Bible Church | 1256 N. Waller
  • Heritage International Food Distribution Center | 5312 W. North Ave.
  • Unity Fellowship Baptist Church | 211 N. Cicero Ave.

The city will pick up the donated cloth masks and deliver them to the United Center, where they will be included in kits packed by TEAM Rubicon, a veteran-led global disaster response organization and distributed as needed.

City officials have posted more information about masks here. For more information and updates on the coronavirus, text COVID19 to 78015.

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