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Local architecture & engineering communities collaborate to innovate and distribute masks

Made to Aid has donated more than 1,000 masks to WNY frontline workers.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — There have been a lot of local efforts to sew and donate masks. Some of the top architecture and engineering minds in our region have come together to try to innovate the process for both the people creating the masks, and the frontline workers who will be wearing them. 

Back in mid-March, architects at Cannon Design in Buffalo starting talking with their colleagues all over the country about what they could do to help essential workers in the fight against COVID-19. They zeroed in on the mask-making process, and how to make it easier, better and faster. 

That's how the "Made to Aid" movement was born.  It's a connection between architects, engineers, UB's schools of nursing and architecture, as well as volunteer sewists and artists. The group from Cannon Design is now working with materialsIn, Fisher Price, Rigidized Metals, and Arc Building Partners to create the masks. Cannon Design Principal Mike Tunkey says what makes their masks different are the clips that come with them.

"We developed this clip, almost like a backpack clip, that allows the mask to be sewn more quickly by novice sewists, but also by the view of the healthcare workers, they can adjust it, and that was one of the problems we were hearing a lot of feedback from," he told 2 On Your Side.

"The healthcare workers were getting a lot of masks from volunteers, but they're all different sizes, some were too loose, some were too tight. So I guess the main way we've adjusted is we're tried to make the masks a little bit better, a little bit faster, a little bit easier to produce."

So far, Made to Aid has donated more than one thousand masks to Evergreen Health, Haven House and Buffalo's VA Hospital.  They have about 500 more ready to go to People, Inc this week.

If you want to get involved by volunteering to sew or by making a donation to pay for more supplies, you can find all the information on how to sign up here

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