The city of Independence invites any willing sewer to make and donate cotton-fabric facemasks that the city’s first responders can use for patients they treat in the field during the coronavirus pandemic.


The donation effort stems more from a national shortage of personal protective equipment than a local shortage for Independence police officers and firefighters, the city said, calling it a precautionary measure to make sure supplies last as long as possible.


The city asks participants to follow the patterns and directions on the Jo-Ann Stores website (joann.com/make-to-give-response) and use only new materials. Fabric can be bought online for home delivery.


Completed masks should be placed in a clean bag and can be dropped off at the Sermon Center west doors at the corner of Noland and Truman roads. Donations will be accepted 1-4 p.m. Thursday, then 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday from March 30 through April 10. People with any symptoms of COVID-19 should not work on or donate any items.


There’s no set goal of masks to attain. The cotton masks would be washable and reusable if desired.


“As many as we can get will be accepted,” said Meg Lewis, the city’s public information officer.


Lewis said no city employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, though an undisclosed number are working from home as a precautionary quarantine measure. City offices have been closed to the public for several days, and employees are often working split shifts to minimize contact and better maintain social distancing.