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The American Red Cross needs volunteers to help make face masks

The American Red Cross needs volunteers to help them make face coverings for those in need.

It’s not the first time the American Red Cross has mobilized volunteers to make face masks. During the flu of 1918, Red Cross volunteers supplied many masks to people in need. It’s been over a century since Red Cross mobilized their volunteers to make face masks. 

“We find ourselves in similar times during COVID-19, there’s a shortage of face coverings,” said Jeff Imel who is the Indiana Region Director, Service to the Armed Forces and International Services. Now, they’re doing it again.

“We have an army of volunteers out there,” said Imel. Volunteers made and processed 8,000 masks in the last seven weeks. 

“Right now we have a goal to produce another 15,000 face covering in the next six months, there’s that much need out there,” said Imel.

There are 100 volunteers now and the masks go to area nonprofits in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio. With a goal of 15,000, the Red Cross needs help. “We’re providing all of the materials, we provide the instructions, the fabric, the elastic and we actually mail the material to the crafters," said Imel.

Once the masks are assembled, they mail it back. While they haven't been overwhelmed with requests yet, the Red Cross is preparing for an increase in demand. “With the opening of schools and the opening of businesses, there’s going to be a pretty significant need,” said Imel.

Some of the volunteers make the masks while others process them or deliver the masks to organizations. So, don't be deterred if you've never picked up a needle and thread. "There are other ways and we badly need the help,” said Imel. 

If you’d like to sign up to be a volunteer, you can email Imel, jeffrey.imel@redcross.org or click on this link for more information. 

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►Contact reporter Kristin Goodwillie at KGoodwillie@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook