Coachella Valley Mask Makers Project born out of necessity

CATHEDRAL CITY — As the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the Coachella Valley, a group of volunteers, known as the Coachella Valley Mask Makers Project, recognized a dire need and wasted no time in getting to work.

There was a shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare workers due to the surge in mask usage because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coachella Valley Mask Makers Project stepped in to do its part to supplement the supplies that were commercially available to local healthcare workers.

Within a matter of days at least 1,400 volunteers stepped forward to help. Within weeks, they had crafted 90,0000 masks and 20,0000 medical gowns.

Volunteers were given step-by-step instructions, a pattern and a video demonstration to create life-saving masks. Each kit provided enough materials to make 10 masks. Each mask took about 15 minutes to craft.

The masks did not require sewing skills nor a sewing machine. Each volunteer was armed instead with a pair of scissors, fabric, rubber bands and glue gun. The goal for volunteers initially was to make 1,000 masks per day.

At the request of local physicians, a small group worked with the physicians to make and experiment with the best type of mask to protect our healthcare workers. A prototype was agreed upon and volunteers took it from there.

All the masks went through a sanitation process before use.

The City Council this month honored the key leaders of the Coachella Valley Mask Makers Project whose efforts helped protect frontline health care workers early on during the coronavirus global pandemic.

It was the first opportunity for the council to recognize the group’s efforts in person since the pandemic began.

The honorees were Shelley Blume, Kay Gerhardt, Judi Britt, Conrad Angel Corral, and Actress Lucie Arnaz.

The City Council presented them with awards of appreciation as the group in a matter of days recruited approximately 1,400 volunteers and produced in a matter of weeks more than 90,000 medical masks and 20,000 medical gowns for our frontline health care workers at local hospitals, nursing homes, and health clinics.


Image Sources

  • Mask Makers Project: City of Cathedral City