Here’s a guide to where you can get free or inexpensive masks in your community

In addition to picking up free masks from some city governments, people can also make their own with guidance from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. File photo.

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For the foreseeable future, masks will be required in Johnson County as local cases continue to rise. Johnson County public health officials Joseph LeMaster, MD, MPH, and Sanmi Areola, PhD, joined other regional officials in warning the public that without intervention, the local situation could escalate to dangerous levels and another stay-at-home order might become necessary.

The officials say, in the joint letter, that mask mandates are “an extremely important part of our efforts to once again flatten the curve.”

Here are a few places, organizations and offices where you can pick up a free mask or get one in exchange for a donation.

PRAIRIE VILLAGE

After Gov. Laura Kelly issued a mask ordinance, the city of Prairie Village purchased a large order of single-use masks. Businesses and citizens can pick them up at city hall, located at 7700 Mission Rd, in the City Clerk’s offices.

Businesses that want to reserve a certain amount can call 913-381-6464 to have some masks set aside, city public information officer Ashley Freburg said.

ROELAND PARK

Roeland Park ordered 10,000 masks for distribution. Those in need should contact the city to pick some up from the supply available at city hall during normal business hours. These masks are free to residents and businesses.

Roeland Park police officers will begin distributing single-use masks this week to businesses and citizens. The city purchased 10,000 masks in all. Courtesy photo.

Additionally, the Roeland Park police department will start distributing masks to local businesses on Thursday. While on patrol, they will also hand out masks to citizens.

It’s part of an effort to “help the community be a little safer” as well as help citizens comply with the mask mandate, Roeland Park Chief of Police John Morris said in an email.

OVERLAND PARK

Sharon Sheldon, an Overland Park resident, is making and selling masks for $5 a piece. All of the money goes back to making more masks.

“Obviously, if COVID-19 is as easily spreadable as [they say] it is, everybody needs to have access to masks,” she said. “I popped online last week just to see what masks were out there: People are charging $10 and up for masks that are handmade. Not everybody’s going to be able to afford that.”

Those interested in purchasing one of her masks can email her at skfsheldon@gmail.com.

Additionally, Harper’s Fabric and Quilt Company, at 7918 Santa Fe Dr., is collecting masks to distribute to the community. The store is open 10 am. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

The city is not currently distributing masks to the public, but will provide them to people entering city offices without one.

MAKING YOUR OWN MASK

Those interested in making masks for themselves, their families, or to donate can look at the homemade mask guidance provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment this spring.

Per the recommendations, homemade masks should:

  • Fit over the nose and mouth

  • Be made from fabrics of a higher thread count (at least 180)

  • Have multiple layers and pleats

  • Be machine washable

Enclosed in the guidance is a step-by-step guide to making a mask at home, complete with images.

People who need help can also call Harper’s in Overland Park for mask-making support at 913-648-2739. The company has also published a free mask pattern on its website. 

Additionally, the Johnson County Library is hosting a virtual Intro To Sewing workshop at 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7. The course is designed for people who have never used a sewing machine or who need a “brush up.”

The virtual class will include instruction on sewing a seam, cutting a pattern and more skills necessary for making a mask. Registration, which is free, will close 24 hours before the workshop.