Please Note: Effective March 5th, 2021 it will no longer be possible to request free face coverings via this website at MaskMvmt.org. This website domain will remain accessible, but as of March 12th, 2021 the database & system that has maintained this network will be shut down permanently. Our volunteer community will remain accessible to help field individual questions through the end of March, at which point we will no longer be monitoring the incoming emails, etc.
Greetings fellow human! For everyone landing here on this website right now, and to those who have been using this service throughout the past year to acquire a free face-covering for COVID-19, please see the below statement on behalf of the extensive mutual-aid network that has become known as the MaskMvmt.org platform.
A little backstory...
In the early Spring of 2020 as the COVID-19 virus was beginning to travel person to person across the United States, communities around the country began working together to help slow the spread & support healthcare workers on the frontlines.
By March 2020, it was evident that a majority of the hospital systems in the US were woefully under-equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) that could be used by staff to diagnose, treat & care for those impacted by the virus. Broad calls for support came from the hospital systems for individuals to assist in the making of cloth face-coverings which could be used to prolong the life of existing PPE such as the N95 mask which was capable of preventing the spread of the virus.
Humans across the country began sewing masks in a broad effort to make up for both the Federal Government and private sector’s failures to respond with proper PPE in a proactive manner.
Spring of 2020, at the start of the Pandemic, seems like a lifetime ago for many of us. It’s somewhat hard to imagine this now, but at that time all available PPE in the country was being sent to hospitals. There was no possible way to walk into a store and purchase an N95 mask. “Surgical Masks” were also unavailable to the public, and if a member of the public had a supply of N95 and/or surgical masks, they were being asked to donate them to the hospital system. Cloth facemasks, for the most part, were only available to those who could sew, or to those who knew someone who could sew.
Thousands of facebook groups & google docs were being created by sewists across the country endeavoring to pull together a community response to this crisis - who needs a mask? What type of mask is needed? How many? Where should they be delivered?
With the goal of helping to organize this massive sewing effort, an extraordinary group of humans in the Twin Cities of Minnesota built an online tool that could facilitate the making, requesting, delivery & care of handmade cloth face coverings and sewing supplies.
By modifying the functionality of an eCommerce store using the Shopify platform, this group of humans built the online infrastructure which became known as the Mask Movement (MaskMvmt) which within about a week of launching had over 10,000 requests for masks from people in the Twin Cities & broader Metro area. All of the requests coming in for masks were for quantities of three to 10 and were almost entirely from individuals & families.
The team behind MaskMvmt.org moved mountains to meet this demand, essentially creating a decentralized mask manufacturing & delivery network overnight. For the 12 months that followed this initial push, sewists & helpers from around the Twin Cities worked tirelessly to fulfill every request that came through this system free of charge on a good-will donation basis. The system was not perfect, but as an entirely grassroots effort we’re proud of what we accomplished and the role we played in slowing the spread.
Fast-forwarding to the present:
Our primary objective from the start of this endeavor was to serve individuals & families in need of face coverings until the government and/or the private sector was able to make face coverings available. Nobody in this group is, or was, interested in being a “mask-making business” - we could have gone the “business route” early-on, but we didn’t. We kept everything free, and focused all of our attention on mutual-aid.
Over the past 12 months, MaskMvmt.org facilitated the sewing & delivery of 27,142 cloth face coverings. We are eternally grateful for every person & organization that made this possible. We are particularly grateful to the team at Innovize who, when this project was just starting, developed a way to cut thousands of fabric squares at a time so we could distribute kits to all of those sewing. Steve Kreisel with Torpedo Textiles / Glenn Cronhkite Custom Cases was another amazing human that made this all possible. Steve converted his entire production line to making masks, thousands of which he contributed to MaskMvmt.org for distribution throughout the Twin Cities. SR Harris was another major helper along the way, providing hundreds of yards of high-quality cotton fabric at an extremely reasonable cost that was used for the making thousands of masks.
For everyone who helped sew: You all are superstars. There are too many sewists to list individually here, but none of this would have been possible without the hours and hours of volunteer sewing you took on over the past year.
And so, without further ado…
As of March 1, 2021 we have, as a collective, determined that the time has come to close down this mutual-aid network as we feel the overall market & local governmental units have caught up and that there are sufficient resources available to help acquire face-coverings for anyone in the Twin Cities that is in need. We have done what we can to provide links to various resources locally in Minnesota where masks can be acquired, and genuinely hope that our assessment is correct and that you will have no problem finding a mask at this point!
Effective March 5, 2021 it will no longer be possible to request free face coverings via this website at MaskMvmt.org. This website domain will remain accessible, but as of March 12th, 2021 the database & system that has maintained this network will be shut down permanently. Our volunteer community will remain accessible to help field individual questions through the end of March, at which point we will no longer be monitoring the incoming emails, etc.
Be safe, be smart & let’s continue doing everything we can to ensure all of our relations are as best protected as possible from the COVID-19 virus.
-The Humans behind MaskMvmt.org