Closing a Chapter

This morning I sent out an email notice to the volunteers and supporters of Bloomington Mask Drive letting them know that I am stepping down as the administrative lead for the project. My Co-Founder Nola Hartman, to my great joy, wishes to continue making masks for as long as our community continues to need them. Our partners hosting mask stations, including me, continue to support our mission by refilling and maintaining their mask stations.

Though masks are no longer in short supply, our free handmade masks are still picked up from community mask stations at a rate averaging nearly 900 per week since February 1, 2021. This seems unbelievable to many, but in a community of 70,000+ folks trying to go about life in masks, it is easy to imagine 2-3% of those each month forgetting to bring a mask, having masks wear out without funds to replace them, losing a mask at school – and that is all it takes for 450 packages of paired masks to go out every single week. Many folks worry that many of the masks are lost to theft or thrown away, and though I agree there is probably some theft or waste, I do not believe it is a substantial amount of the masks we distribute. Even the large theft of masks we reported in February was estimated to be a total of about 250 masks, which would only change our weekly averages by two dozen or so.

I firmly believe that Bloomington Mask Drive is and will continue to be a valuable resource in our community for the duration of the pandemic.

(Left to Right) Kelly, Kell, and Nola at Banneker Community Center

My reasons for resigning at this point are many, and you can read about the most important of them here, in my formal letter of resignation. The list of administrative duties that Nola may still be looking for some assistance with that is referenced in the letter is also linked here. On a more personal note, more than anything, I want folks to know that I continue to be deeply impressed and moved by the spirit of community and generosity and friendship that I have discovered in leading Bloomington Mask Drive. It has been one of the most difficult, satisfying, and important things I have ever done. I hope that sometime soon, we will no longer need masks in our everyday lives and can once again share our smiles freely. Until then, I have no doubt that Bloomington Mask Drive will continue to make it safer and easier for us to smile in the secrecy of our masks and safety of our homes, until we can gather again.

  • Kelly Clark, Co-Founder, BMD