The Healthiest Ames Face Mask Project supplies Ames Community School District students with face coverings

The Healthiest Ames organization created the Face Mask Project to provide face coverings to Ames Community School District students. 

Eleanor Chalstrom

The Healthiest Ames organization has started an outreach initiative called the Face Mask Project. Their goal is to make three masks for every student in the Ames Community School District.

Ames Community School District is requiring students to wear masks while participating in face-to-face learning. Gail Johnston, the project coordinator, said the Face Mask Project wants to provide each student with masks that will keep them safe from the spread of COVID-19 while at school.

Johnston also said that the Face Mask Project has recently started distributing kits to volunteers that contain enough pre-cut fabric to sew 30 masks.

“We’ve made […] enough kits to make 6,400 masks. People are really happy to take one to sew,” Johnston said.

The school district provided the Face Mask Project with information on the amount of students in each grade along with delivery instructions. Once the masks are sewn, volunteers package them in threes, put them into cartons and take them to the schools. All schools plan on refraining from giving the masks to students for five days, as that is the expected time for bacteria to survive on surfaces.

On Iowa State’s campus, the Kinesiology Club has been actively volunteering for the Face Mask Project.

“Our club has been looking for ways to volunteer,” said Katelyn Langel, president of the Kinesiology Club. “The opportunity just kind of fell into our laps, and we thought it was perfect. It sounded like a great way to help out.” 

The Kinesiology Club decided to do their part in assembling the masks together on Tuesday. Members were expected to sign up for shifts prior to the event date. Masks, gloves and social distancing were required for all attendants. Club members attached the elastic loops on the sides of the masks using an adhesive.

Community members like Kathy Glatz are working on the Face Mask Project to help reach its goal. Glatz took on the role as a communications director after she received word from Johnston that the project was in need of help.

She has spread word of the project to community members, donors, clubs and individuals to gain volunteers and extra support. Her main motivation was making sure all students have equal access to safety materials.

“I think it’s putting all the kids on an even playing field so that they all have the opportunity to have them and wear them and be safe,” Glatz said. “It sends a good message that we all need to be masking because this is a pandemic and we need to take this seriously.”

To learn more about volunteering, fabric donation and monetary donations, visit the Healthiest Ames website. Volunteers are encouraged to fill out the online registration form before taking further action.