Indiana Daily Student

PHOTOS: Bloomington Mask Drive sews, distributes free masks to Bloomington community

<p>IU junior and President of The Mask Project at IU Arianna Smith finishes making a mask by sewing pleats in the fabric Oct. 22, 2021, at the College Mall. Smith established The Mask Project at IU to help the Bloomington Mask Drive with its goal of protecting the Bloomington community. “I knew that I wanted to try to help out,” Smith said. “I thought ‘I should just start an organization to connect students with the same mission.’” </p>

IU junior and President of The Mask Project at IU Arianna Smith finishes making a mask by sewing pleats in the fabric Oct. 22, 2021, at the College Mall. Smith established The Mask Project at IU to help the Bloomington Mask Drive with its goal of protecting the Bloomington community. “I knew that I wanted to try to help out,” Smith said. “I thought ‘I should just start an organization to connect students with the same mission.’”

The Bloomington Mask Drive makes free homemade masks for the Bloomington community Oct. 22, 2021, at the College Mall. The organization was started March 20, 2020, by co-founders Nola Hartman and Kelly Clark. The Bloomington Mask Drive has made more than 74,000 masks since it was founded. Tori Krzyston
Amber Brooks-Wolfe cuts fabric into three different sizes for the lined, unlined and child-sized masks Oct. 22, 2021, at the College Mall. She said she has been a volunteer for the Bloomington Mask Drive since March 2020. “I think we have protected many lives in the city,” Brooks-Wolfe said. Tori Krzyston
Amber Brooks-Wolfe cuts patterned fabric into different sizes before it is ironed Oct. 22, 2021, at the College Mall. The Bloomington Mask Drive distributes packaged masks to partnered businesses and public organizations that contain mask stations, Kell Mirowski, distribution manager for the Bloomington Mask Drive, said. Tori Krzyston
Jean Graham irons fabric before it is sewn Oct. 22, 2021, at the College Mall. She began volunteering with the Bloomington Mask Drive after she retired from being a nurse this year. “We can prevent people from dying,” Graham said. “It’s that simple.” Tori Krzyston
Bundles of pre-cut and ironed fabric, nose guards and elastic pieces are seen Oct. 22, 2021, at the College Mall for volunteers to pick up and make at home. When completed masks are returned, they go through the sanitizing and distribution process before they are given to the Bloomington community, volunteer Amber Brooks-Wolfe said. Tori Krzyston
Kid-sized mask materials are bundled together for volunteers to pick up and sew Oct. 22, 2021, at the College Mall. The distribution process includes cleaning finished masks multiple times, sorting masks by size, repeatedly checking quality control and many other steps to safely deliver free, handmade masks to the Bloomington community Kell Mirowski, distribution manager for the Bloomington Mask Drive, said. Tori Krzyston
Bloomington Mask Drive co-founder Nola Hartman sews elastic ear pieces to mask fabric Oct. 22, 2021, at the College Mall. Hartman teaches volunteers how to sew masks using sewing machines, she said. Tori Krzyston
IU junior and President of The Mask Project at IU Arianna Smith finishes making a mask by sewing pleats in the fabric Oct. 22, 2021, at the College Mall. Smith established The Mask Project at IU to help the Bloomington Mask Drive with its goal of protecting the Bloomington community. “I knew that I wanted to try to help out,” Smith said. “I thought ‘I should just start an organization to connect students with the same mission.’” Tori Krzyston
Co-founder of the Bloomington Mask Drive Nola Hartman and IU junior and President of The Mask Project at IU Arianna Smith  sew masks Oct. 22, 2021, at the College Mall. “It was crazy to see how everyone, even during a pandemic, was coming together for a common cause,” Smith said. “It was really cool seeing IU students merging with the community in a direct way.’” Tori Krzyston

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