Days for Girls
Our emails and phone lines have been flooded with requests for face masks to distribute to medical personnel and patients around the world. Those who know Days for Girls, know that we have 70,000 volunteers and a majority of them are sewers so these calls are not a surprise, but we need more volunteers and resources to reach the millions needing them. Please join us in answering the need!
As a global community that has a long history of stepping up to challenges, we are calling on all of you to help respond to this critical need. Join us to participate in the DfG Masks4Millions endeavor. Our goal is to provide millions of masks to hospitals and clinics, and others in need of masks around the world.
We are asking that right now, in addition to the beautiful Days for Girls menstrual pads that you are sewing, also join in making face masks for medical personnel and patients while this need exists. Let's make sure we keep everyone safe and medical professionals have the supplies they need while they are on the front lines.
Ready to get involved? Sign up HERE.
Please only volunteer to sew masks if you are well! If you feel sick in any way, please rest instead of sewing masks. Be sure to use best hand-washing and sanitizing guidelines to ensure safety for all, and as always, quality matters!
Meanwhile, we know that periods do not pause for pandemics and many stores are already running low on pads and tampons, in some cases completely out. Our washable pads are becoming an important solution for even more of us, and always smart to have on hand. Please keep assisting with the needs of your local food banks, and shelters, and making them available to others in need, perhaps even your neighbor.
The critical need may or may not pass quickly. But as long as there is a need, we will be part of the solution. Stay calm & wash on, sew on, serve on. Stay safe. You matter too.
1) What pattern should I use?
We are finding that different hospitals, clinics, long term care facilities, fire stations and others that are in need of masks have various requirements. In some cases, they are looking for a mask that fits over a N-95 mask and in other situations, a basic mask is fine. Check with the group whom you are making the mask for and ask what they are looking for if possible before starting. Please register to receive more information, mask patterns, and updates. Care and use guidelines flier here.
Proper mask care and instruction 1/4 sheet here in color, feel free to print in black and white.
Sew only when well. Keep the highest sanitizing and sanitary measures while making them. You can sanitize before using by steam ironing.
2) What are medical personnel saying about the use of cloth masks?
It is now proven that countries that went straight to staying home and masking up had dramatically less spread. The CDC is now calling for everyone to wear them if they leave their home for essential errands. They are helpful for everyone.
“Cloth masks can be very helpful in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Similar to paper surgical masks, cloth masks help prevent the transmission of infectious droplets from the patient to the HCP (health care provider), especially if used in conjunction with eye protection and gloves (as recommended by the CDC). Masks can also prevent potentially infectious droplets from entering the air nearby. Though there is no data yet to support this, cloth masks should work similarly to paper surgical masks as they both act as a non-sterile physical barrier to person to person droplet transmission. Due to the reusable nature of cloth masks, through washing techniques after daily wear is an important component of infectious disease transmission reduction. The mask does not need to be sterilized but should be cleaned with a disinfecting product such as soap and water. Cloth masks could be an important addition to existing medical equipment to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Because both a surgical and cloth mask help prevent potentially infectious droplets from a cough or sneeze from entering the air nearby, those with a persistent cough should wear a mask when around others. Cloth masks may be more comfortable in the long term and may lead to greater adherence by those possibly infected individuals.”
— Dr. Karen E. Harris, MD, MPH
Days for Girls International Board Chair
Program Director for the OB/GYN Residency
UCF/HCA Consortium - Gainesville
3) Where should I send masks once they are made?
We are moving fast and do not have a central clearing house like we normally do for our pads so if possible, call your local hospitals, clinics or other vulnerable population sites (homeless shelters, elder care facilities, prisons, food banks, people with suppressed immune systems, etc.) and ask if they are in need, and if so, which style they prefer. We will also continue working on matching requests we receive to sewers. Watch our Facebook page as we post requests. In addition, those who have registered on the Masks4Millions initiative page will receive updates as we receive them. If you know of an organization that needs masks, you can direct them to our Mask Request Form. If you want to help, click here.
4) How long will we be making these?
As long as the need still exists. We don't really know how long that will be. We created the sign-up so we can update people as information comes in. Volunteers should only make masks if they feel well. If you feel sick in any way, please rest instead of sewing masks. Be sure to use the best hand-washing and sanitizing guidelines to ensure safety for all.
5) Are you still focused on ensuring menstrual products and health education during this pandemic?
Yes. Because periods don’t pause for pandemics, the need for healthy menstrual products people can count on month after month will remain a quality option that maybe even more important to more of us as supply shortages occur.
Here are a few of our current responses:
Local shelters, food banks, or charities near you, may be low on menstrual products. Please call to confirm the need of pads, tampons, cups, or DfG sustainable Hybrid Kits.
Note: this does NOT mean going to the store to buy them! Rather, if you have a stockpile of DfG supplies or other menstrual products that you won’t need or use in the next few months, consider donating unopened boxes to a location near you. PLEASE observe local advice for travel and movement.
Please, drop-offs only. While education is typically a key component of our Kit distributions, the health of volunteers is critical, so we ask that you explain how to use Kits either in an email or over the phone. And include the DfG Trifold available in the Chapter/Team Leadership Room OR the new Care and Usage tag.
Community BONUS: As disposable single-use products become more scarce, you could also consider posting on your Facebook page that you can make washable DfG PODs (Our patented pad module, a "Portable Object of Dignity") available to your community as a whole, donations are welcome. Please maintain social distancing. Wanting to find a Chapter near you? Please visit our website here.
Keep washing your hands, practicing social distancing, wear face masks during essential errands, and STAY WELL.
You matter too.
As more questions come in, we will continue to update this list. Thank you!