Get Mankato PPE (personal protective equipment) sprang to life in the span of 36 hours. With Mankato Area Foundation serving as our fiduciary agent, we immediately began fundraising and building a volunteer base to manufacture masks, headbands, gowns, and face shields- anything that local front line organizations request.


Currently there is not a unified voice requesting volunteers conform to the standards being requested by Allina or BCBS of Minnesota. A quick glance at the Facebook page, Mankato Area Non Profit Covid Response, reveals people are seeking ways in which they can help during this crisis, and there are a few groups generating their own masks in addition to promoting their own patterns. While good intentioned, this is detrimental as these masks are useless and must now be sorted out from the compliant masks, a task which no one has the time for, and may result in these masks being discarded. A focal point is necessary. Volunteers need one place to seek accurate information on production and delivery of home made PPE. By forming Get Mankato PPE, we will be able to provide volunteers who otherwise might not be able to afford purchasing the supplies with free materials, while also providing donors a tax write off. 


The three items we currently see a need for are face shields, masks, and gowns. Get Mankato PPE wants to remain adaptable as the needs change locally, so Get Mankato PPE will begin by purchasing materials for masks and promoting the manufacture of masks to required standards and add gowns, shields, and additional PPE as approved patterns are published if the need arises. According to an article on BCBS Minnesota website, a mask can be made in 15 minutes and requires a front panel of 100% cotton, tightly woven, lined with 100% cotton flannel. One yard makes approximately 25 masks. 


It will not be easily accomplished, but we will strive to ensure that our volunteers are adhering to the patterns provided by Allina, BCBS Minnesota, and other authorities. We plan to ask volunteers to make one mask or gown or face shield initially that will be verified as accurate, before turning them loose with a kit to make many more. 


Rebecca Thate will be responsible for public relations. Priscilla Roos will be responsible for procuring materials and distribution of those materials. Get Mankato PPE was conceptualized on March 23, 2020, and we have not had the time to add to our leadership team. This team will grow and jobs will be delegated as quickly as possible.


We are currently working with Tom Scheman, owner of Rooms and Rest as well as additional businesses and buildings around town, discussing the possibility of using his property. Ideally we would start by accepting donations twice a week, delivered in paper bags as the virus does not live as long on paper as on plastic, with the quantity contained in the bag written on the outside of the bag. We would then combine into paper bags of either 50 or 100, depending on what fit, so there was a standard quantity per bag for when they were required by local health care providers. Distribution will begin to occur when requested, delivered by volunteers. Priscilla will oversee the accepting of PPE and ensuring compliance until another person is added to the team for this purpose.


As of 4/9/20, we have raised $30,000 from grants and individual contributions. We will ask for donations in our public relations campaigns through social media, the Mankato Free Press, local television and radio, and any other ways we can. 


We will continue operations as long as PPE is needed in our area, in the Twin Cities, or in communities around us. We hope to shut down operations in under 4 months, and donate all remaining unused PPE to local nursing homes, assisted living, or any other place we can find that will take it. Any remaining funds will be reallocated to the Mankato Area Foundation to distribute towards continued COVID recovery in the Mankato area.