KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A local business is asking for volunteers to help make masks for medical professionals as part of a Million Mask Mayday donation.
At Sandlot Goods in Kansas City, there are masks. They’re not N95 masks, but health officials still need them.
They’re not official surgical masks, but they take about three minutes to make. Local health departments are now asking for them and the small warehouse has the potential to crank out hundreds of them every day.
Workers from Sandlot typically make leather gifts, but now the buzz of the sewing machine is bringing a new product.
“We’re trying to get our people back to work making cotton masks for medical industry and first responders,” said Chad Hickman, who owns Sandlot.
Hickman has employees sewing together two layers of cotton and elastic to make a mask as medical professionals struggle to keep up with the demand for N95 masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Three ways people can help: donate money, which is great, share this post -- just word of mouth, or you can sew yourself at home,” he said.
Hickman put up a post on Facebook and in just a few days already has more than 100 people signed up to volunteer.
The Johnson County Health Department is accepting mask donations. In a statement, a spokesperson said “contingency planning is necessary” if the county can’t get the medical grade masks.
We checked with other local health systems to see who accepts mask donations and St. Luke’s will accept them, with restrictions. The University of Kansas Health System and Children’s Mercy will not accept them.
Hickman plans to sell the masks to medical practices that can afford them and donate them to those that can’t.
The CDC does caution against using nonsurgical masks, but as supplies decrease some experts are saying a mask is better than no mask. “This is a sort of last resort and we wanted to provide that,” Hickman explained.
Hickman said that his goal with the donations is to eventually start to pay some of the volunteers that sew at home. He said a lot of the people reaching out to help are workers who were laid off because of the pandemic.
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