FAQ

We’d like to think we’ve thought of everything. But if we’re honest, it’s more accurate to say that we’re always trying to figure out what we don’t know. This page is full of things we’ve figured out. After all, if you have a question, maybe we’ve had it too.

What is Sewing Masks for Area Hospitals?

Sewing Masks for Area Hospitals is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organization providing cloth face masks  to healthcare professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 800 professional and hobby sewists are contributing their time, effort and resources to make cloth face masks in response to direct requests from area medical facilities facing acute shortages of PPE.

Who is part of the volunteer effort?

SMAH’s volunteers are business owners, sewing instructors, stylists, designers, costumers and hobbyists at all skill levels. We have also partnered with such organizations as Atlanta Ballet, Passion City Church and IATSE 479 to maximize our efforts.

How do these homemade masks supplement traditional PPE?

SMAH volunteers generally make masks in two styles: stand-alone masks (such as the pleated surgical style) and N95 mask covers. These two-layer cotton fabric masks, while not as protective as medical-grade masks, are made in accordance with CDC guidelines and healthcare facility requests, and they prolong the effectiveness of N95 and surgical-style masks.

What type of fabric is used to make the masks?

SMAH asks sewists to use 100% quilt-weight cotton fabric, which is washable, reusable and breathable during prolonged wear by healthcare professionals. Cotton/poly blends are acceptable for mask ties.

How can a facility request masks?

Please fill out SMAH’s request form here.

How quickly are facility requests filled?

It depends on the number and type of masks that are requested. Some requests can be fulfilled in as little as 24 hours.

Does SMAH only provide masks to hospitals?

In addition to hospitals, SMAH donates masks to medium- and low-risk units, such as skilled nursing facilities and elder care homes, as well as to essential workers and vulnerable members of the community, such as the homeless population.

How can I help?

Check our Facebook group, where we regularly update our volunteer needs. If you would like to be a sewist, please fill out this form, and one of SMAH’s admins will be in touch with you as quickly as possible. If you would like to form a partnership with SMAH to help fulfill our mission, please contact Partnerships Director Amy Fortenberry. If you would like to contribute financially, please donate here.

Please consider joining our community! We have a Facebook group of over 8000 members who support SMAH’s mission and each other. You can also follow us on Instagram/Twitter/YouTube @SMAHAtlanta. 

What mask pattern should I use?

Please use these patterns here. These patterns with their customizable options are based on feedback from the facilities we work with, as well as extensive testing by SMAH’s pattern experts.

Where do I take my finished masks?

Find your closest drop-off location here.

Why can’t I deliver my masks directly to a hospital?

To protect our community, we have designed our delivery process to be as close to ZERO-human-contact as possible. To achieve this, we have designated a small group of volunteers to serve as the last mile in our supply chain to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19. 

Additionally, the SMAH admins do their best to track every yard of fabric that is donated, as well as every mask finished by our wonderful sewists. This is so, as a 501(c)(3) organization, we can report accurate numbers to our donors and our volunteers. Every mask counts!

Can I make other PPE, such as surgical caps or gowns, with SMAH materials?

We are currently focusing our efforts on providing the most-needed PPE item: masks. We continue to receive requests for hundreds of masks from facilities every day. While you are more than welcome to use your own materials to sew other PPE, please reserve SMAH materials for making masks.

Do you accept donations?

The generosity of our financial donors enables SMAH to continue in its mission. To contribute monetarily, please go to our donations page, where you can donate with a major credit card or via PayPal. Thanks to the support of SMAH’s corporate partners, we are well supplied with fabric and other mask-making materials. Donations to SMAH are tax-deductible.

How many SMAH chapters are there?

In addition to the original metro Atlanta chapter, there are 11 affiliate chapters located throughout Georgia and in the Southeast. We are also fielding requests from across the U.S. for national support.

How do I start an affiliate chapter in my area?

For assistance in starting an affiliate chapter, please email SMAH’s Chapter Coordinators, Jennifer Balot and Meagan Purvis: chapters@smahatlanta.org.