Chicago launches coronavirus face mask drive for vulnerable citizens

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The city of Chicago is stepping up to protect citizens most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus through a face mask drive.

The mask drive, which runs through May 16, comes in response to the state mandate that requires citizens to wear facial coverings while in public starting May 1.

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The “Chicago Together! Make a Mask, Give a Mask, Wear a Mask” program calls on residents to donate handmade masks as the city hunkers down for the mandate.

“The COVID-19 crisis has been hard on all of us, but it’s shown the impact we have on each other, strangers and friends alike,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a recent video, calling on Chicagoans to take part in the cloth mask drive.

The masks will be donated to homeless shelters, community health clinics, essential public sector workers and other organizations to prevent virus outbreaks among its most vulnerable residents, according to the city’s official webpage.

"Over the last several weeks, we tried to push it out to people who really need them, whether it’s seniors or families that don’t have the ability to provide a mask," Ald. Scott Waguespack of Chicago’s 32nd Ward told NBC5 Chicago. Waguespack's offices will accept mask donations, as will many other churches and aldermanic offices.

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Mask donations must adhere to provided specifications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which stipulate they include multiple layers of fabric, have a snug but comfortable fit around the face, and include ties to secure the mask in place.

Donations will be accepted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays through May 16. Click here to find sites accepting mask donations.