Mask donation
November 17, 2020 6:58 AM   Subscribe

Anywhere I can donate my old/unwanted masks? Is that even a thing or is it gross?

Hi all! In the early flurry of covid panic, I, as well as many of you I'm sure, collected a ragtag selection of masks, some handmade, some bought online. You know, those first generation cloth masks that we all had before we were able to take the time to find the masks that actually work best for us (which for me are actually the ones at Old Navy in case anyone is curious). I have about a dozen different kinds of masks that are just piling up that I'd love to give away if someone might want them.

Are there places that will take mask donations? Is this even a thing or is it like donating used underwear which is something no one wants I'm guessing. Of course these will be freshly washed before I part with them.

I live in Brooklyn but am happy to either drop them off locally or mail them to somewhere else.

Any suggestions or resources to look at?
posted by greta simone to Grab Bag (15 answers total)
If you're in Brooklyn, are you in a high rise? If so, you might try putting up a notice on your notice board by the mailboxes that just says, "I have some masks that didn't work for my face. Do you need extras? I can drop them off at your door freshly washed, no contact, no questions asked." Then leave your email, phone, and name. Someone will take them.
posted by juniperesque at 7:43 AM on November 17, 2020

Response by poster: I'm in a building with only one other apartment.

And also I'd prefer to just be rid of them in one fell swoop instead of making arrangements on Next Door or Craigslist or Freecycle or whatever (just a note for other posters).
posted by greta simone at 7:49 AM on November 17, 2020

Donate to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen?
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 7:57 AM on November 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'd call Goodwill and see if they are taking them -- they take SOCKS, for goodness sake. I can imagine used, washed masks in those baggies at the ends of the aisles.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:34 AM on November 17, 2020

I took mine to Savers with the rest of my clothing donations, they accepted them though I don't know how much attention they paid to what was in my bag when they took it.
posted by assenav at 8:46 AM on November 17, 2020

Response by poster: Will a shelter take them? Will Goodwill actually sell them? Will Savers just throw them away?

I guess maybe I'm looking for a place I know WANTS them. Have you seen any place asking for mask donations or specifically saying they accept them?

I'm not trying to get rid of them as much as I'm trying to donate to someone/someplace that might need them. This might not be possible, and that's okay! Just hoping to try that first :)
posted by greta simone at 9:03 AM on November 17, 2020

It's a thing; it's not like used underwear. On my local Buy Nothing group, folks are constantly offloading masks that didn't work for them and getting plenty of takers. I think you can just donate them to your favorite thrift store.

I'd include a note saying "freshly washed" as a kindness to the people sorting donations. They're undoubtedly used to handling clothing in various states of cleanliness and I'm sure they wear gloves, but it would be nice to give them specific reassurance since it's a garment specific to covidtimes.
posted by desuetude at 9:05 AM on November 17, 2020

Best answer: Food Not Bombs would probably distribute them.

Peoples Bodega also.
posted by bilabial at 9:08 AM on November 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

Oh, and probably MCCNY, which serves LGBTQIA youth.
posted by bilabial at 9:10 AM on November 17, 2020

This is JUST LIKE donating used underwear. That being said, there are people in need who would accept a donation of freshly washed used underwear. It's still kind of icky though.
posted by heatherlogan at 11:23 AM on November 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

You could wash them, ziplock bag them, add a note saying Mask that didn't fit me - Laundered - Free, and tack to likely bulletin boards.
posted by theora55 at 2:16 PM on November 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yeah, seal those fuckers up in zip locks, individually for preference. No matter who gets them, it'll keep them clean and untangled and clearly signal that the person donating cares enough to wash them.
posted by Jilder at 4:30 PM on November 17, 2020

Response by poster: Contacted People’s Bodega and they take donated masks! I will definitely seal them in ziplocks for delivery. Thanks!
posted by greta simone at 7:02 PM on November 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Looks like you found a solution, but for anyone else reading this question who might live somewhere else -- I occasionally go out about an hour before sunset and leave some masks in individual ziplocs on benches, picnic shelters, etc in a park where people will be spending the night. I do this with new masks I've made but I think it would be a fine thing to do with used and washed masks. I usually put a note on the bag.
posted by yohko at 11:28 AM on November 18, 2020

For anyone else with this problem, I'd recommend carrying a few of them in ziplock bags and offering them to anyone you see in a disposable mask. I have found people are pretty happy to be given free masks. (I make a few extra every time my stash runs low.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:56 PM on November 29, 2020

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