FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The city of Fort Worth is beginning a collection drive for homemade protective masks to keep essential city employees safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fort Worth Public Library Director Manya Shorr is coordinating the collection effort which begins Wednesday, April 15.

The donated masks will be distributed to workers in departments operating during the stay-at home order to keep services running smoothly, such as in the Community Centers, Animal Shelter, Water Department, Public Works and others.

Make your own protective mask (credit: Fort Worth Library).

While the City has ordered additional manufactured protective masks, the demand for them is so great that some orders may not be fulfilled for months.

“Following the success of the donation drive to collect personal protective equipment a few weeks ago, we know the people of our community are eager to help in any way they can,” Shorr said. “Any masks collected will be put to good use, protecting City of Fort Worth workers and the public they serve.”

The goal is to collect at least 15,000 homemade masks, which is two per city employee, and the city is seeking only masks made to the specifications below:

– 100% cotton is best

– Multiple layers of fabric

– Do not include any metal within the mask

– Ear straps or ties for behind the head are fine, whichever is available

– Must be able to be washed and dried without changing size or shape

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone venturing into a community setting where other people are likely to be cover their nose and mouth.

The CDC offers instructions for two types of handmade masks – sewn and not sewn – as well as instructions for wearing, removing and washing them.  Click here for more information.

Watch a video tutorial from Fort Worth Public Library staff member Ian Garland here.

Masks may be dropped off at any time into the book drops at the following Fort Worth Public Library locations:

– Central Library, 500 W. 3rd St.

– Southwest Regional Library, 4001 Library Lane

– Northwest Branch Library, 6228 Crystal Lake Drive

Donations will be collected and stored under current CDC safety guidelines before they are distributed to city employees who need them.

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