For those with a sewing machine and the necessary supplies to make cloth face coverings from home, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington is in search of volunteers to make protective cloth face coverings for staff members working at various shelters and programs throughout the local community.

After the Center for Disease Control recommended on April 3 that all people should wear nonsurgical face coverings when they go out in public, Catholic Charities announced they would seek to provide face coverings for their staff that remain at essential programs such as shelters and food distribution centers.

“At Catholic Charities, a number of our staff is working with a lot of people… and in those situations where there are lots of people coming through… it’s important to have some kind of covering to mitigate that spread,” said Maggie O’Neill, senior program manager for volunteer engagement at Catholic Charities.

Because many supplies such as surgical masks have been unavailable for purchase, Catholic Charities is seeking to provide their staff members with three cloth face covers twice a month, as well as give residents at their area shelters and food programs a cloth face masks, with the help of volunteers.

O’Neill said the cloth face coverings are one way that Catholic Charities can ensure their staff members are conforming to the CDC guidance and also instilling “some level of confidence, because we’re less exposed.”

 “Catholic Charities has a very robust volunteer cadre, and people at this time want to help, they want to be of service,” O’Neill said.

With the help of the volunteer community, Catholic Charities hopes to have a steady supply for the coming months as the local community continues to combat the coronavirus.

“We anticipate this will be an ongoing need,” she said. “The peak might pass, but it’s not like a flip is going to be switched, we’ll have to take care and keep distance. We’d like to have an ongoing supply (of cloth face coverings).”

Those who would like to participate in the donation of face masks, but do not have the proper materials to do so can contribute to the Catholic Charities COVID-19 fund here.

For sewing instructions and mailing directions, click here.