Updated: Mar 28

What is Get Mankato PPE (personal protection equipment)?

Get Mankato PPE exists to mobilize and utilize an army of volunteers to manufacture CDC compliant PPE (personal protection equipment), bring in donations to fund the purchase of CDC approved materials, and clearly communicate with the community the urgency of adhering to the CDC standards.

Why do we exist?

Observing the current COVID19 crisis of PPE shortage, we stepped in to be a stop gap and hopefully stockpile sufficient PPE to get Mankato and the surrounding area through COVID19. Mankato is also lacking a clear voice in the Mankato area championing the adherence to the CDC guidelines. If and when the need arises for this homemade PPE, the hospitals and clinics will not be able to accept the non-CDC compliant products.

Is it necessary now?

We 100% believe that this is critical to the safeguarding of our healthcare providers. We can’t afford to lose a single provider to COVID19. By beginning to manufacture PPE now, we will be prepared and can handle the shortfall of PPE. And in the unlikely best case scenario that we don’t need it, we plan to donate it to Allina and BCBS-Minnesota, who have already placed a call for homemade PPE in Minnesota.

What are you making?

We are currently purchasing CDC approved material for producing covers for n-95 masks, which extend the life of an n-95 mask. This is the item we will be starting with. Other items that we will make if needed include gowns, face shields, and masks.

What makes these products different from other homemade products out there?

The critical difference is that these are CDC approved, both design and material. The internet is flooded with people creating their own designs using AC or heater filters, mesh fabrics, surgical fabrics, sheets, anything they can get their hands on. And hospitals are using them because there is nothing else! That really stresses the urgent need for homemade PPE. Knowing that there are CDC approved designs, we would like to focus the local efforts on the CDC approved designs knowing that hospitals and caregivers would provide them to some random pattern.

Who will use them?

The mask covers will be used by front line personnel, enabling them to use their n-95 mask either until its visibly soiled (CDC guideline) or if unsoiled, we estimate using one or several of these a day will allow a healthcare provider to use their n-95 mask for a week (what NY is currently issuing to providers- one n-95 a week!!) At this time local home health nurses and a few nursing home workers are using the homemade masks. Anything our volunteers produce, our company will be storing our PPE for use in the hospitals and front lines of the COVID19 battle.

How can I help?

If you can sew, we need you. If you know people that can sew, we need you to get them connected with us. You can also donate money by going to the Mankato Area Foundation under For Donors, then Give Today, you will find our company Get Mankato PPE listed near the bottom. We will also be in need of people to cut the materials, and people to sort the incoming finished product for storage. Eventually we will also need people to distribute the product as necessary.

How many units are needed?

Starting with the covers for the face masks, we will be attempting to have 10,000 on hand. Once we meet this goal, we will reassess where the needs are using our local providers to guide us. Dr. Eric Storvick and Dr. Karl Roos are two of the individuals we have already spoken with regarding their preference for homemade PPE. We plan to widen the circle of providers directing our manufacturing efforts and remain flexible as to what we make next.

When are these units needed by?

If we could mobilize sufficient volunteers to make 10,000 n-95 face mask covers within 3 weeks, we would be delighted.

Is my donation tax deductible?

Absolutely it is. When we set out to establish our non profit we didn’t realize how onerous it was to get a 501c3 up and running, both monetarily and the time required to get official 501c3 status. An attorney friend recommended we work in the Mankato Area Foundation as they support temporary non-profits like ours. When you make your donation, it needs to be specifically to our non-profit as the MAF supports many local causes.

Who do I make the check payable to?

You can indeed mail in a check if you prefer not to go online! Make the check payable to Mankato Area Foundation, and put Get Manakto PPE on the memo line or on a sticky note on the check. Send it to Mankato Area Foundation, 127 S. 2nd Street, Suite 100, Mankato, MN 56001

I can sew, where are the instructions?

The instructions are available on our Facebook group page called Get Mankato PPE.

Where do I take / send the finished products?

The Get Mankato PPE group page will publish the dropoff times and locations. With the shelter in place taking effect Friday at midnight, we need to work with the local government offices to get permission to be out and about.

Who is taking the finished products to the end user?

Our team of volunteers includes delivery personnel- we know the frontline workers don’t have time to pick it up themselves and will be delivering it as requested.

How do we keep the product “contaminate free”?

Good question. There is no way to do that. We will be doing is a sanitization process after receiving the finished product, under the guidelines of the BCBS-Minnesota process.