Homemade Mask FAQs

Find answers to commonly asked questions about mask making, how to donate, and how your donation will be used.

How will the masks I make be used?

Homemade face masks are not CDC-approved personal protective masks, but they do help contain the spread of germs and reinforce cough etiquette.

Homemade masks will be distributed to anyone entering our facilities, as supplies allow, not engaged in direct care of patients.

Broad distribution of homemade masks helps preserve the supply of personal protective equipment for our frontline staff who need it the most.

Do I need to launder and package each mask individually before donating?

No. For safety reasons, masks will be laundered and individually packaged by Essentia Health staff after you drop them off, so there is no need to do this yourself.

If I don't have elastic, can I use another material for the straps?

Yes. Though our recommended pattern uses elastic, we understand that elastic is getting harder to find. You may use other materials such as new shoelaces, ribbon, fabric scraps, etc. for the straps.

Should I add a filter in the mask for better protection?

No. There is no need to do this, these masks are not intended to replace personal protective equipment (PPE). Homemade masks serve as a cough cover to protect those around you.

If I use a different pattern than what is on your website, can I still donate?

Yes. We will accept a wide variety of patterns. There are a wide variety of patterns and guidance is frequently changing. Our listed pattern is based on the latest CDC guidance.

In addition to homemade masks, what else is needed?

Our primary need continues to be N95 masks for use by frontline staff. All types of PPE (personal protective equipment) may be dropped off at our donation sites. We ask that donated items are unused, although we have waived the requirement for items to be unopened, in original packaging.

What else can I do to provide support beyond donating homemade masks and PPE?

Words of encouragement are greatly appreciated by all staff that are working hard at this time. For other questions, please visit the Ways to Get Involved Page.

How do I drop off? Will I need to have contact with anyone?

There are designated drop-off locations in several of our Essentia Health markets; you can find your nearest location on the Ways to Get Involved Page. All sites are clearly marked with signs and instructions and set up in a way that will follow social distancing guidelines and limit any contact.

Can I mail my masks to you?

Yes. You may mail your donations to the addresses listed within the drop-off site tab on the Ways to Get Involved Page.

How many masks do you need?

A specific number is hard to determine at this time, so we are gladly accepting as many masks as we can possibly get.