KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A local business has switched from making gifts to medical masks. This comes as the need of masks is far greater than the supply right now.

It’s not the coveted N95 mask that has been tested and fully approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, but the cotton masks that Sandlot Goods making are a last resort if health professionals can’t get their hands on the real thing.

The Kansas City business typically makes leather items or cozies. Last week, the owner, Chad Hickman, was forced to let his employees go. Days later, he decided to change the way his business operates to stay afloat.

Now, the business is making cotton face masks to donate and sell. Hickman plans to sell the masks to medical practices that can afford them, but to donate to entities that need them like police, fire departments, first responders, and public health departments.

It costs a little more than one dollar to make a mask and right now Hickman says he has the supplies to make at least 12,000 cloth masks.

Hickman says he asked medical professionals if it was a good idea and they encouraged him to do it because masks are in short supply.

“There’s a big shortage right now and we’re just trying to fill it and keep people working … the news just seems to change with the minute, and you have to roll with it,” Hickman said.

While the mask is not ideal, some experts say a mask is better than no mask at all.

KCTV5 looked into what local health systems will accept homemade cloth masks. Johnson County Health Department will accept masks. St. Luke’s Hospital will also accept masks, but materials must come from St. Luke’s staff. Children’s Mercy Hospital and KU Health are not accepting masks.

Sandlot Goods is accepting donations to buy materials to make the masks and also cover the wages for employees. Sandlot is also taking volunteers that will be provided materials to sew the masks. Hickman’s goal is to raise enough money to continue to operate and start paying volunteers that have been laid off because of coronavirus.

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