About Bloomington Mask Drive
Bloomington Mask Drive co-founders Kelly Clark and Nola Hartman were strangers to one another when they teamed up to form Bloomington Mask Drive on March 20, 2020. Nola – Bloomington Quilters Guild member, foster-kitten mom, and retired librarian, brought sewing skill and deep community roots. Kelly - Doctor of Physical Therapy and founder of Patient PT, brought healthcare, project management, and information technology expertise.
United in their mission to stem the spread of COVID-19 by providing clean, high-quality, homemade fabric masks to Bloomington and Monroe County free of charge, Kelly and Nola recruited 350+ volunteers and distributed 25,000 clean masks in their first three months.
Nola Neher Hartman represents the Bloomington Quilter's Guild, and she got involved in mask-making in mid-March when was contacted for help making fabric masks for a pediatric clinic. She asked a few of her friends from the Quilters Guild for help, and soon found herself inundated with too many requests to handle. When Nola asked for help via Monroe County Area Mutual Aid, Kelly remembered running into her at Joann Fabrics and answered the call.
Nola coordinates all sewing materials distribution, helps mask-makers with sewing questions, and manages all the sewing-related volunteers.
Nola fosters newborn kittens and their rescue moms in her free time, and is well known as that quilter with the blue hair.
Kelly Clark, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Massage Therapist, and owner of Patient PT first got interested in mask-making in early March 2020, when she decided to start wearing masks every day in her clinic and wanted to provide them for her clients and patients as well. With no disposable masks to be found, she started working on getting some made and met Nola in the process.
Kelly developed all management and distribution processes, built our website, and handled all communications related to this effort until she stepped down in May 2021 to focus on her private clinic. Thanks to her contributions we can get clean, non-contaminated masks distributed equitably to needful individuals and organizations according to their type and most appropriate use with minimal cost and volunteer effort.
Patient PT is the Premier Partner of Bloomington Mask Drive, and now hosts our first community mask station in our Partners & Friends program.
Kelly loves rabbits and the color green, and laughs really, really loudly.
After Bloomington Mask Drive was asked to move out of their donated space (their sixth move!) Area 10 Agency on Aging stepped up to offer their space at Endwright East Senior Center. Area 10 is the Flagship Agency Partner of Bloomington Mask Drive, and will soon host the second community mask station in our Partners & Friends program.
About Our Masks
All our masks are washed, sorted, and quality-controlled using protocols developed by trained medical professionals, and using clean handling procedures.
Our primary sort categories are as follows:
- Type A: At Risk - masks lined with non-woven material to enhance filtration
- Type B: Breathable - masks that are unlined to enhance breatheability
- Type C: Child - smaller in size to better fit children age 2-8 years old.
- Type S: Special - masks made with surgical drape for those at high risk of exposure, without access to medical-grade equipment
- Type W: Window - masks that include a clear vinyl panel to allow users with hearing or other communication issues to read lips
- Type D: Different - any usable fabric mask that is donated and does not otherwise fit easily into any of the above categories
A video from Bloomington Mask Drive Co-Founder Kelly Clark on our sorting system
We accept and distribute masks of all types, then sort them by type. Veteran quilter Nola Hartman began working licensed Pediatrician Cynthia Nassim to design and produce these masks on Sunday, March 15th. Since then, Doctor of Physical Therapy Kelly Clark and countless users have helped us hone the design to ensure it is easy to make, effective, and durable. This is an all-volunteer and donation-based effort, and all masks are provided free of charge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is getting all these masks? Can I have a mask?
Bloomington Mask Drive is no longer accepting direct requests for masks as of June 20, 2020. Visit our home page for details on how easy and convenient it is to get free masks from our self-serve mask stations.
We directly distributed clean masks to over 480+ families and individuals and 180+ organizations in the Bloomington / Monroe County Area during the first phase of this project. See the full list here.
How can I help?
- Volunteer: We always need help! Whether you'd like to make masks, sort and bag, cut materials, make mask stations, run masks to the cleaners... we've got a job for you. Please sign up here.
- Donate: If you'd like to donate to support the purchase of materials and otherwise keeping the mask drive running - thank you! Please click here.
- Materials: Materials may be brought to Endwright East beginning Monday, July 27.
- Location: Volunteer Entrance
- Monday & Wednesday, 2 PM - 6 PM
- Detailed directions for accessing the volunteer entrance are here.
- Location: Storefront
- The storefront is located near Macy's, where Payless Shoes used to be. The gate remains closed and locked at all times, however donations may be pushed through the gate into our mask collection bin at any time the mall is open.
- Location: Volunteer Entrance
Can I give the masks I make away?
Volunteers who obtain materials from us are asked to please respect our honors system and return masks to us for distribution to ensure all of the time, materials, and money donated to this cause contribute to the free, equitable distribution of non-contaminated masks to those in the Monroe County Area in need. Please keep one or two masks for yourself and wear one any time you are in an indoor public space, and donate the rest to be distributed equitably through Bloomington Mask Drive.
I am sensitive / allergic to dryer sheets, can I still wear these masks?
Because this is an all-volunteer, emergency effort, we cannot make any guarantees about what is in our masks versus not.
We make every effort to ensure masks are hypoallergenic have phased out the use of dryer sheets in our mask kits to this end. All masks are washed in fragrance free / hypoallergenic detergent after collection to minimize the effect of potential allergens in some masks.
I might have been exposed to COVID-19. Should I be making masks?
If you bring your masks to us, we will ensure they are washed in hot soapy water and handled in clean conditions.
We recognize that we can't guarantee that we or anyone else is not carrying the virus, and further, that careless handling could increase spread instead of stop it and make every effort to avoid that by allowing only trained volunteers to handle and inspect the clean masks according to protocols developed by medical professionals. Fortunately, hot soapy water destroys coronavirus, so even if you are worried you've been exposed, you can still make masks for us.
Please do not endanger healthcare providers further by providing masks directly to any healthcare institution or allied health provider, especially if you are concerned you may have been exposed.
I heard that shop towels / HEPA vacuum bags / furnace filters / etc filter the best, why don't you use those?
You cannot use just anything to make face masks. Heavy and synthetic fabrics are not breathable and should not be used for face masks because they increase the work of breathing and force air to move in and out from the sides of the mask instead of through the filtration surface.
Pre-made filters intended for industrial uses such as furnace filters and HEPA vacuum bags should never be used to make face masks because they must be cut to size. These filters that are often made of hazardous materials including fiberglass, and when they are cut microscopic fragments break off and can be inhaled and cause serious lung damage.
I have pets. Should I be making masks? What if people are allergic?
All masks are washed and dried prior to distribution to minimize this possibility, but we include information along with every mask to acknowledge its limitations and best use.
Masks don't work / I don't want to wear a mask / I can't breathe in a mask / I don't like masks / Stop making masks / etc.
There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all solution to the ongoing controversy over masks – Nola and hundreds of mask makers are making them anyway and saving lives in the process, because the plight of those who are still working and going about their business with limited or no access to masks much more important than explaining why masks work to those who don’t like them.
This effort is being led by Dr. Kelly Clark, who has a thorough understanding of the benefits, risks, and limitations of using fabric masks. We are doing everything possible to minimize risks, we acknowledge the limitations, and there is ample evidence of the benefits for those who choose to acknowledge them.
Those who discourage and harass our volunteers will soon find themselves on the wrong side of history.
What is up with fabric face masks? This is a confusing subject, but in this video from March 2020, BMD co-founder Dr. Kelly Clark tries to clear some of it up.
- Anatomy of a Surgical Mask 0:26
- Why You Shouldn't Worry About Wearing Fabric Masks 1:17
- Right & Wrong ways to Put it On: 2:05
- Why So Much Controversy? 3:40
- Medical Masks & Filtration Properties 4:35
- Remember to Wash Your Mask 5:24
- Why wear THIS mask? (This is the original design of our current S mask) 6:00