Minnesota News

Minnesotans donate thousands of homemade masks in statewide drive

A man holds a bag of masks while standing beside a vehicle
Retired St. Paul firefighter Rick Fenoglio collects a bag of homemade masks on Saturday at Fire Station 14 in St. Paul. Fire departments received the donations Saturday as part of the statewide homemade mask drive announced by Gov. Tim Walz. The masks will be distributed to congregate living facilities for their employees and residents to wear.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR 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.

"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."

Two people count homemade masks.
St. Paul Fire Foundation board member Carla Baier and retired firefighter Rick Fenoglio count donated homemade masks on Saturday at Fire Station 14 in St. Paul.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

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.

Find more information — including guides for making your own cloth mask — here.

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