Are the masks free?
Yes! While our masks are distributed at no cost to those in need, we also welcome financial donations from those who are in the position to contribute to the cause. Our group is made up of 100% volunteers and mask makers currently pay for their own supplies. Financial donations will allow us to purchase materials and create mask making kits for our members, so that we can support our community and facilitate more masks getting to more people. Financial donations also support our distribution system, which picks up and delivers each mask.
Why donate through the Sew Face Masks Philadelphia?
We have build lasting relationships with many non-profit, health care, elected officials, library branches, and health departments in the region, and have good visibility into the latest needs as well as guidelines. We support individuals, essential workers, and community organizations- not just healthcare workers. Our distribution system spans a wide coverage area; this allows sewists to help stop the spread, while remaining safely at home, if they wish. We are more organized and can leverage our respective strengths and are together as a group working towards a larger goal, rather than individually. We have a closed-loop communication system with those that receive masks you donate; including healthcare administration. We take extra steps to ensure that no mask is ever discarded by a recipient. We vet safety and educational information via a multi-disciplinary team. Important safety and education updates are pushed out in real-time.
What areas do you serve?
We generally serve the Greater Philadelphia Area, including South Jersey. Please check out our coverage map here.
How can I get masks to you if I live outside of the pickup zone?
Please submit a donation request and then email us for our mailing address.
Why is there a limit of 75 masks per request?
We believe that we can accomplish the greatest amount of good, as well as support our sewists, by not accepting requests for simultaneous large scale donations. Smaller requests can be filled faster, and requests for 50 masks can be matched up with one or two sewists at a time. We welcome feedback about the masks, and are happy to take repeat requests, capacity permitting. For much larger needs, as well as a more consistent product -- we encourage institutions to work directly with vendors/supplies who can mass-produce masks. We have identified several such suppliers on our request page.
How did you come up with the original idea for the "Donation Due Diligence Form"?
At the very first call for help, we are proud that individuals stepped up to serve their community. After weeks of around the clock sewing and paying for materials from their own pockets, we realized that more questions remained unanswered than not. The questions that we pose in the Donation Due Diligence Form can be used by larger requests in substantiating their need for donated masks. Question includes items such as organization need for specifically handmade items, laundering plan, etc. Click here to view the form.
Are you in contact with area hospitals?
Yes! We have consistently had requests from departments at most major healthcare facilities in the area, including: Penn Medicine, Presbyterian Hospital, Temple University Hospital, Temple Fox Chase Cancer Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, MD Anderson Cancer Center, St Claire Denville, Cooper University Hospital, Einstein Hospital, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Reading Hospital, Jefferson Torresdale, St. Mary's Medical Center, Holy Redeemer Hospital, Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes, Atlantic Health, Capital Health, Primary care clinics in Camden, multiple hospices. Also: Maxim Healthcare, All American Healthcare Services, Rothman Surgery Center, Civiq Health, Advocare, American Renal Care
Who else are you helping?
We accept mask requests from everyone. Please see below for some of the recipients.
Septa operators, Sanitation workers, most Library Branches, most Project Home locations, organizations such as SEAMAAC, Center For Family Services (including SERV), MCRC Recovery Center, Pathways To Recovery, Philadelphia Meditation Center, The Food Trust, Point Breeze Towne Watch, Mazzoni Center, Food Not Bombs, Chestnut Hill Meal On Wheels, Ardmore Food Pantry, Build A Bridge, Youth Consultation Service, Interim House, several community health centers, Philadelphia Fire Department, EMT's (including Springfield Ambulance and Collingswood EMT's), senior centers (St. George Senior Housing), nursing homes (e.g. Immaculate Mary Nursing Home), retirement communities, veterinary clinics (Northern Liberties Veterinary Clinic), essential workers (Shoprite, Trader Joe's,), immunocompromised individuals, child care, camp, and many schools, faith based organizations, and occasionally, food services (e.g. HotPot Philly, Wadsworth Pizzeria, St. Honore Pastries, Pete's Famous Pizza), and delivery workers (e.g. GoPuff).
Who do you think should wear a face mask?
In 2020, we recommend everyone who is old enough, wear a mask to reduce the concentration of indoor aerosols. Here’s a good place to start: Why Telling People They Don’t Need Masks Backfired. We support the #Masks4All movement. Jeremy Howard explains it well here: We need #masks4all
What do you think of other materials such as polyprene, halyard, polyester, etc.?
Cotton (e.g. tight weave quilter's cotton, high thread count cotton sheets) has been recommended by our both the CDC and the PA Dept of Health throughout 2020-2021. The ability to consistently source materials during a volunteer effort, while not disrupting the higher-priority medical supply chain, were other key considerations, as was breathability, and the ability to hold up to repeat washing and sanitizing. While meltblown material provided superior filtration, it did not have the same durability, there was insufficient data around safety and we were not immediately able to identify a reliable and cost-effective source free of chemical dyes, adhesives, and additives deemed safe to use around the face. Polyester was thought to be not as effective as it builds up moisture.
Can I join your team?
We are all volunteers that came together for one reason - to fight this pandemic and support the #Masks4All movement. If you’d like to volunteer with us and join our core team- please complete this form. We could always use extra volunteers!
I am a supplier. How should I get in touch with you?
Suppliers/vendors that would like to be listed on our website as a supplier for local hospitals and community organizations should reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org