A brief history
Alaska Mask Makers was begun in March of 2020 in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and a national shortage of protective personal equipment in hospitals and communities.
To date we have processed over 12,000 requests for homemade face coverings. Members across our group of 4,900 individuals have used resources we share to make and distribute over 38,000 masks throughout Alaska.
We are honored to partner with the Anchorage Municipality’s i-team and other leaders during this crisis, working to help our communities stay strong and recover quickly.
Why masks matter
With Governor Dunleavy moving to reopen Alaska's economy and provide opportunity for Alaskans to be out-and-about, it's more important than ever to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The primary ways to do this are through social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and disinfecting high-touch surfaces. Another tool that may help to minimize transmission while people are around others outside of their household is the use of face coverings. You can read more about this on the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services page here.
Additionally, this New York Times article points out that medical grade masks should be reserved for front-line/high acuity/high risk areas, but other simple masks can make a difference outside the hospital.
Recognition by local leaders
Assembly Member Christopher S. Constant:“As we have seen, in a pandemic, we often feel powerless to respond in meaningful ways, especially in the first days. The grocery stores were crowded and the shelves bare. Our offices and jobs shuttered almost immediately, sending so many people directly into crisis while they feared for their loved ones. Alaska Mask Makers show us what Alaskans do best. When we have a challenge, we, each of us, finds a way to pitch in. When you see us wearing these masks, we aren't just wearing them to keep people from infection. We are also wearing them as a symbol of Alaskan determination that we we will get through this. I am inspired by the thousands of volunteers ensuring the health and safety of our neighbors. These masks are a testament to Alaska's future.”“The ALASKA Mask Makers have stepped up and activated the community to produce masks for essential workers and others in need. I am proud to support the work of the AK Mask Makers by ensuring they have access to necessary materials and I hope the municipality finds ways to purchase and donate materials as well as establish a centralized distribution system for masks to residents.”“Thank you to Alaska Mask Makers, and my friends David Velasquez and Delainie Burford, for making those masks, to Chris Constant for picking them up, and to all the folks in the Chamber last night who put them on. Cloth Masks aren't a perfect solution, but we know that they help to slow the spread of COVID-19, particularly from asymptomatic but infected people to those who haven't yet gotten sick. The Assembly felt it was best to try and lead by example; I very much hope that more folks around town start wearing facial coverings in public. I applaud those in our community helping to make them more accessible."
We couldn't do it without you!
We have an incredible group of mask makers and a community of more than 3,000 supporters, without whom none of this could be possible.
There are a few other folks that we would also like to thank very much:
Ray Bouwens of High Five Awards - who worked hard to procure hundreds of nose pieces for our makers! Be sure to check out Ray's business and leave him a great review!
Aero Twin - produced hundreds of nose pieces
Anchorage Makerspace - 3D prints bias makers, pleaters, and laser cuts our fabric in bulk
Alaska Club West - offered to launder fabric and help with logistics of preparing masks to be sent to organizations
Anchorage Municipality + I-Team - delivers ongoing support and guidance
State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services - awarded us a $5,000 material grant
Members of the Anchorage Assembly - support and guide our efforts
Annie Brace at Corso Graphics designed our beautiful logo! She is an Alaskan artist specializing in graphic design and fine art. If you are looking for colorful landscapes, floral or xtratuf art you can find on her Facebook page or Instagram or Etsy shop.
We will be adding more "THANK YOU" notes here... We have so many folks to thank!
Our recipient organizations and groups:
Here is a list of just some of the organizations and groups that have benefited from masks made by Alaska Mask Makers:
Anchorage Assembly and Municipal Clerks
Municipality of Anchorage
Anchorage School District
49th State Brewing Company
Anchorage Fire Department
ACE Air Cargo
Easterseals of Alaska
Marlow Manor senior Living
Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association Inc.
Hope Community Resources
ResCare Alaska & ALH
HomeWell Care Services
Naath Assisted Living home
Southcentral Foundation Elder Program
Anchorage Pioneer Home
Alaska Veterans and Pioneer Home
All Good Homes
Alaska Health and Social Services division of juvenile justice
TSA Clithroe Center
Anchorage Health Department
The Alaska Hospitalist Group, LLC
Alaska Native Medical Center
Shoot for the Cure - Cystic Fibrosis
ANMC Internal Medicine Clinic
Alaska Retinal Consultants
Northern Lights Chiropractic
Anchorage Women’s Clinic
Anchorage Radiation Therapy Center
Abacus Care Coordination
Alaska Family Medicine Residency
Alaska Oncology and Hematology, LLC
Wasilla Medical Clinic
Wasilla VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic
Center for Psychosocial Development
Geneva Woods Pharmacy/MyMedSupplies
Ophthalmology department at anmc
Mat-Su Health Services
Soldotna Fred Meyer Pharmacy
Dimond vision clinic
Alaska Neurodiagnostic and Rehabilitation Medicine, Inc
Dr Owen Bell’s office
Alaska State Department of Transportation
Port Graham Village Council
Chugiak-Eagle River Food Pantry
Alaska Psychiatric Institute
Trailside Discovery Camp
Tatitlek Village IRA Council
Legacy Home Care
State of Alaska Reemployment Benefit Section
Living Stone Home Care