TAMPA, Fla. — The Mask Project Tampa Bay was created in March, and seven months later the group still has hundreds of requests for masks.
The group has sewn 60,000 free face masks for schools, hospitals, and communities across the Tampa Bay area in that time.
In the past few weeks, volunteers have made 300 masks for military personnel overseas.
Since school leaders started talking about reopening over the summer, The Mask Project Tampa Bay has provided districts with about 11,000 face masks.
“We still have many requests in our queue from schools but especially elementary schools,” said Carol Fleurant, administrator with The Mask Project Tampa Bay.
Volunteers say there’s no end in sight.
“Things that I’ve heard from the requesters, from the administrators, from the schools is basically, I know several schools had gotten masks but they found they were too big,” said Fleurant.
Now the organization says it’s stepping in to provide special smaller masks for elementary students.
“They had a size issue with what was received. We also hear many kids come to school, they forgot their masks, they lose their masks during the school day. So we are able to provide that little buffer for them so they don’t have to turn the kids away,” said Fleurant.
Requests from elementary schools are still pouring in.
As the demand for face masks is starting to rise again, the group is struggling to fill all of the requests.
“We want to be able to be there to provide assistance to our community,” said Fleurant.
After sewing so many masks, their supplies are depleted and volunteers say they're running out of funds.
“It takes a lot of materials and work that goes into a handmade mask,” said Fleurant.
The group needs monetary donations along with supplies like:
- 100% cotton material
- Clean solid color sheets
- 1/8 inch round elastic
- Silicone beads
- 90mm flat aluminum wire rounded edges
They're also looking forvolunteers.
“In order to help keep the community safe, we would love to receive those donations so that we can continue to support the community,” said Fleurant.
For more information on how to help, reach out to The Mask Project Tampa Bay on Facebook.