Sunday, May 26, 2024

The Cambridge Volunteer Clearinghouse coordinate donations of masks against coronavirus and the sewing of them by volunteers. (Photo: Cambridge Volunteer Clearinghouse)

With more businesses and agencies reopening, health officials call it critical that residents continue to wear masks to contain the spread of Covid-19. There are vulnerable Cambridge residents, however, who do not have easy access to face masks, including low-income seniors, and Cambridge nonprofits have stepped up to provide them.

Many Helping Hands 365, the Cambridge Volunteer Clearinghouse and Mask Up, with support and coordination from the Cambridge Public Health Department, have established a centralized system through which nonprofits can request masks to distribute to their community members, said Laurie Rothstein, director of the Cambridge Volunteer Clearinghouse.

Thousands of handmade masks have been donated, and Massachusetts manufacturers Joseph Abboud and John Matouk & Co. have also donated commercially made face masks to Cambridge nonprofits, Rothstein said in a Friday press release. The Clearinghouse has also received cash donations to buy masks for those most in need – $5,800 as well as in-kind contributions valued at $7,200 and hundreds of volunteer hours.

The donations have “generated significant material support for 19 direct service agencies,” according to the organization, which was founded in 1994 and until the coronavirus shutdown held weekly meetings at the Citywide Senior Center in Central Square.

Nonprofit organizations that want masks to distribute in their communities should submit a request to Face Masks for Cambridge, she said, and people or sewing groups wishing to donate hand-sewn masks should send email to coordinator Emily Dexter at [email protected].

People wishing to donate to the Cambridge Volunteer Clearinghouse mask fund should go to its Covid-19 page. General information about masks, including how to make a no-sew mask, can be found on the City of Cambridge COVID-19 mask webpage.

This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.