Minnesotans donate thousands of homemade masks in statewide drive

Published 10:27 am Sunday, April 26, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio News

People all across Minnesota brought thousands of homemade masks to their local fire stations Saturday, part of a statewide effort amid the coronavirus pandemic.

St. Paul Deputy Fire Chief Roy Mokosso said volunteers dropped off 7,348 masks at stations across the city. The cloth face coverings were quickly delivered to nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities that had requested masks.

Email newsletter signup

“We were pulling masks right out of the donation boxes, putting them into other boxes, counting them, sorting them and then boxing them up for delivery,” he said. “We actually started delivering them around noon.”

Mokosso said volunteers showed a lot of creativity and organization in the mask making, with a variety of styles and sizes.

That was also the case in Moorhead, where fire department Captain Rick Loveland said residents dropped off several hundred masks ranging from very simple face coverings, to masks designed to use a replaceable filter.

“Ours are going to go to congregate care, like nursing homes, homeless shelters, places where you just have a large contingency of people who are all living and staying with each other,” he said.

The homemade masks are not medical-grade — but they can be useful in preventing people from spreading the virus by coughing or sneezing.

State leaders had promoted the mask drive as a way for Minnesotans to help their community amid the pandemic. More than 700 fire stations across the state served as collection points on Saturday.