Washington National Cathedral donates 5,000 respirator masks discovered in storage

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The Washington National Cathedral is donating 5,000 respirator masks to two hospitals in the Washington, D.C.-area to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Episcopal Church officials found them in a storage area on the cathedral's crypt level just as more cases have been confirmed in Washington.

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After confirming with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the masks are still safe to use, they immediately packed up 13 boxes with 3,000 masks to deliver to Georgetown University Hospital and nine boxes with 2,000 masks to Children's National.

The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral, on the right, helps load boxes of masks to be taken to local hospitals.

The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral, on the right, helps load boxes of masks to be taken to local hospitals. (Danielle E. Thomas/Washington National Cathedral)

“In these difficult and trying times, the Cathedral community is doing everything we can to help protect the most vulnerable among us from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic,” the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral, said in a statement provided to Fox News.

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The masks were purchased for clergy over a decade ago following a previous health scare, and the church kept a handful of masks just in case.

The cathedral is also planning a blood drive in partnership with the Red Cross on Friday, to benefit patients and practitioners at local collection sites.

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“We have made significant adjustments to our worship programs and made church services available for streaming online, and now we’re prepared to take this additional, proactive step to ensure thousands have access to protection that otherwise may never have been available to them," Hollerith added.