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United Way sees growing need for homemade masks

United Way of Greater Rochester

The community is responding to a United Way initiative to supply home-made masks to human service agencies. But the need for more face coverings is growing.

Earlier this month, the organization announced the "mask maker initiative," where people can make their own face coverings at home and donate them to Goodwill, which cleans and distributes the masks to human service agencies.

An executive order from the governor now requires all essential employees who have direct interaction with the public to wear masks.

And a new directive will require people to wear them in public if they can't properly distance themselves from others.

Jaime Saunders is the President and CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester. She says the United Way's initial request was for 50,000 homemade masks.

``We know the need is continuing to grow.  It is not only the mask for the individual, but they also need several masks per person. There are creative ways people can make masks even if you don't sew. There's lots of tutorials online and lots of resources on the United Way website and we do believe we'll be able to get there as a community," Saunders says.

Saunders says more than 1,000 masks have been donated in the last few days.

She adds while the focus is understandably on those in the health care field working on the front lines, employees in human service agencies are doing so as well at places like homeless and domestic violence shelters, and residential care facilities.

People can make masks at home and drop them off at Goodwill stores, where they are distributed to non-profits so they can help keep their workers safe.

There's more on the mask initiative at

Alex Crichton is host of All Things Considered on WXXI-AM 1370. Alex delivers local news, weather and traffic reports beginning at 4 p.m. each weekday.