The city of Chicago is asking residents to donate handmade face masks for the city’s most vulnerable populations ahead of a statewide requirement for people to keep their faces covered in public amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want our community to mask up to save lives,” said Christine Eaddy, wife of the Rev. Michael Eaddy of the People’s Church of the Harvest in East Garfield Park. “Because I want our children to be able to enjoy to enjoy their grandparents, their great-grandparents. I want them to mask up.”
Eaddy’s church on the city’s West Side is one of 30 drop-off locations – churches and aldermanic offices – for the city’s cloth mask drive.
The handmade masks are taken to the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks, where the face coverings are included in COVID-19 supply kits distributed to health care providers, homeless shelters, nursing homes and other communities in need.
“They’re going to shelters, long-term care facilities – especially communities on the South and West sides that have been hard hit by the virus,” said Jennifer Johnson Washington, director of special events for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
"It's very emotional, I think, to see what our city is doing right now in this moment." -@TheChiFirstLady today at the @UnitedCenter, where PPE & other #covid19 supplies are being distributed to healthcare providers & city shelters, a sneak peek at my next story for @wttw: pic.twitter.com/SPqMAWfoKS
— Evan Garcia (@EvanRGarcia) April 25, 2020
Starting Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s extended stay-at-home order requires that anyone over 2 years old who is medically able must wear a face covering in public if they can’t maintain a distance of 6 feet from others, as recommended by social distancing guidelines.
“Face coverings work and we need all Illinoisans to do their part here,” Pritzker said at last week in announcing the coming requirement.
Dr. Ben Singer, a pulmonologist at Northwestern Medicine, said face masks primarily protect other people from the virus if the wearer is carrying COVID-19.
“So the primary goal of having that face covering is to limit transmission of droplets from you to someone else,” Singer said.
Chicago’s face mask donation drive runs through May 16. Donations are accepted at drop-off locations every Saturday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit the city’s website for more information.
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