United Way setting up collection sites for homemade hospital masks

MARION COUNTY, W. Va. (WDTV) - Medical masks are a vital part of keeping our healthcare workers and first responders safe.

But due to a massive increase in demand, many places are running out.

On Monday Senator Joe Manchin (D) announced he would partner with West Virginia United Way to encourage people to sew homemade masks and donate them.

While you may immediately think of doctors or nurses wearing these masks- there's others in need as well.

"We are not only working with healthcare workers we're also working with first responders, nursing homes, and that sort of thing," said Emily Swain, the community impact director for United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties "So we're making sure they can get into the hands of anyone who is coming in contact with someone who is sick and the hands of those that need them the most,"

For those interested in sewing masks it's important to follow the approved guidelines.

"They would like them to be made with 100% cotton and have elastic earpieces, if elastic isn't available they would like them to be made with 100% cotton- they're very particular about the patterns so we have instructions on our Facebook and our website,"

In a time where many are looking for ways to help, the mask makers movement is an opportunity to give back to those fighting on the front lines.

"It's one of those things where sometimes people just want to do something but don't quite know what they can do," Swain said "We really wanted to give people in the community an opportunity to respond and I think it makes people's spirits uplifted knowing they're part of a solution,"

United way of Marion and Taylor Counties currently have drop off locations set up in three locations:
Price Cutter- 1208 Fairmont Ave., Fairmont
Price Cutter- 1015 Indiana Ave, Fairmont
Gump’s Shop ‘N Save- 57 Maple Ave, Grafton

Each county working to set up accessible drop off points across the state.