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How To Help Schools Get Masks, Because Many Are In Need

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With schools across the country reopening, one of the biggest needs of the year are masks. Every student needs multiple masks to stay safe and keep themselves and others healthy, but not every family can afford this. If you're trying to figure out how to help schools with masks, I've compiled several resources and ideas for you to consider.

Many schools have already set up mask drives in hopes to get as big of a stockpile as they can for their children and their employees. If that's the case, you'll likely get an email or text message notification from your school or your district. There are usually guidelines they are following for the types of masks they can accept, but they aren't so strict as to make them hard to follow. Thankfully, most of the masks sold by major retailers like Target and Old Navy are absolutely fine.

In my own school district, each individual school has expressed their needs via our iPhone/Android application. The request was very straight-forward, and our parent coordinator is handling the masks and the donations. If your school isn't doing something like this, there are ways to get a program started, either for your own school, or for schools more affected by the pandemic and its economic effects.

1. Mask Drives

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If your school hasn't already started one, and you'd like to organize a mask drive, you'll need to get in touch with either the PTA or the administration. From there, it will run much like a clothing or a food drive, but with social distancing and stricter rules. Find out what the mask parameters for the school happen to be, and make that extremely explicit when your publicize the drive. That way, when the school or PTA decides how they should be distributed, everything is on the up and up.

2. Individual Donations

My children's school is toying around with the idea of a mask drop box where children could place new masks inside that would get distributed to other children who don't have them. The main issue with this is the kids knowing who is wearing donated masks because of the patterns, but my school is considering trading donated masks with another school nearby so that this doesn't happen, and no child becomes embarrassed. I really like this idea, and it looks like our PTA is going to run with it.

3. Mass Drives

Masks.com is organizing and/or promoting mask drives all across the United States. According to their website, you can "donate reusable and washable Hanes masks to any school for just $1.50 per mask." And they will then send the masks to the school.

4. Buy At A Company That Is Donating

Joann Fabrics is giving one mask to schools for every mask that is purchased there. The company wrote, "In anticipation of mask requirements across the country, we want to prepare our nation’s schools for the upcoming academic year. So for every mask sold, we’ll donate one to a school in need. Our goal is to help every student and teacher in the U.S. go back to school safely in the fall."

5. In A Wealthy Area? Use This Search Tool To Find Where To Donate

If your school is fortunate enough to be fully supplied, then consider using Deaconess Health System's mask donation search tool and donate masks to those who aren't so fortunate. Pay it forward.