Face Mask Task Force

What is the Face Mask Task Force?

Jill Panese of Hingham was saving a particular piece of fabric (a gorgeous African wax print) for years – waiting for just the right project.

Who knew that fabric would come in handy for Jeanine Murphy, Tracie Jewell, Jenn Moyer and the brave medical professionals at South Shore Hospital, Brigham and Women’s and Mass General?

They’re putting themselves at risk for us. When Jeanine put out the word that the hospital was searching for goggles, gloves and face masks, Jill finally knew how to best use that print.

The medical professionals have been asked to reuse their face masks – there’s just not enough to go around. Jill’s goal is to make 20-50 masks per day, with help from her daughter. It doesn’t take long. If you’re looking for a worthy project, join the Face Mask Task Force!

Fabric for the Face Mask Task Force
Fabric for the Face Mask Task Force

What’s Happening?

The medical professionals at surrounding hospitals are in immediate need of face masks due to a shortage ofN95 masks. These medical professionals have been asked to wear bandanas to cover the masks that they’ve been issued to protect them until they are restocked with appropriate medical masks.

The community has been asked to assist in any way possible, including collecting goggles and sewing masks at home to donate to the hospitals, nursing homes and the VA. If you are able to help out, every bit helps.

Action Item - How You Can Get Involved

Here’s what you can do:

a)    Volunteer to set up a Sewing Team right now. Collect and sterilize fabrics. There’s NO NEED to go to the store. Please repurpose fabrics and pre-loved clothing.

b)    Cut fabrics into rectangles.

c)    Stitch the face masks with double or triple layers. Instructions are linked below.

d)    Deliver to St. John’s Church collection point, where they will be sterilized again and distributed.

Each team could assemble 25 per day or more – this would make a huge difference to our community.


1.    Outer layer of fabric: old men’s or women’s cotton oxford shirts, lightweight denim, dress weight cottons. Please check your donations box at home. Don’t worry about buying fabric at a store.

2.    Inner fabrics: Pre-loved T-shirts, flannel, muslin, soft cottons.

3.    Elastic: 3/8” or 1/2” works best. Amazon has inexpensive elastic by the 50-yard roll. You’ll need about 1 1/4 yards per mask.

There are several different patterns available.

Here are some links: How to make a face mask, How to make a face mask 2.

Dropping Off Completed Masks

The drop-off location is St. John’s Church (172 Main St, Hingham, MA 02043).

Please have your masks pre-washed and bagged. We’re taking all precautions to avoid contamination.

The green bin is on the front steps of St John’s outside the left-hand entrance (under the porch roof) and is clearly labeled (please do not go into the church).

After placing your items in bin, please replace the lid securely. The bin will be checked, emptied and sanitized with Clorox several times a day.

Donations of gloves, masks and goggles can now be deposited there.  

Who’s Coordinating the Effort?

The main organizers and the areas they are focusing on are:

·       Jill Palese, (617) 291-6692 (Sewing)

·       Lori Lerner (Distribution)

·       Kenzie Blackwell (Collection)

·       Becky McLeod (Communications)

·       Christine Nielsen (Sewing)

·       Lana Odell, (339) 236-0235 (Sewing)

Click on the links above to send an e-mail to one of the organizers. Phone numbers listed are cell phones. If you're reading this on a mobile device, you can click on the phone numbers to call those people.

When is This Happening?

This is happening right now – and the Face Mask Task Force needs your help ASAP!

Where is This Happening?

At the moment, the Task Force is looking for help in Hingham and Cohasset.

Why is This So Important?

Our community’s healthcare professionals are putting their lives on the line for all of us, at a time of great urgency, when medical supplies are running out. Let’s be there for them and get them at least some of what they need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: should the masks be washed in hot water and bleach? Answer: people don’t need to worry much about washing. It’s great if you do, but Lori Lerner will be washing them all in bulk. Just make the masks, dropped them and off, and Lori can take care of washing. 

Question: are there any articles with details about making masks? Yes, Fortune Magazine has an article titled Calling All People Who Sew And Make: You Can Help Make Masks For 2020 Healthcare Worker PPE Shortage and a web site called Smart Air has an article titled What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks?.

PDF version of this article

Press Mentions

Hingham Anchor: Face mask-making: a labor of love