PAWNEE, Ill. (WAND) - Midwest Mission distributed 1,000 N95 masks to first responders in Sangamon and Menard County Wednesday.
Midwest Mission had a supply of these masks for when they respond to floods and tornadoes around the Midwest.
Most of the masks were donated by members of United Methodist Churches in Illinois.
“We know flooding is right around the corner, but we have people in crisis now and our goal is to get the supplies to people to need in a disaster as soon as possible in Christ's name,” said Executive Director, Chantel Corrie.
The N95 masks are helpful to those on the front lines of fighting the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19.
Midwest Mission also gave masks to the Sangamon County Sherriff’s Department, Chatham Police Department and St. John’s ER.
The police departments only had one mask per officer. Some had none.
Division 48 members that this donation will impact include the following:
Athens Fancy Prairie Fire Protection District
Auburn Fire Protection District
Buffalo Fire Protection District
Chatham Fire Protection District
Dawson Fire Protection District
Divernon Fire Protection District
Illiopolis Fire Protection Districts
Loami Fire Protection District
Mechanicsburg Fire Protection District
Menard County EMS
New Berlin – Island Grove Fire Protection District
Pawnee Fire Protection District
Pleasant Plains Fire Protection District
Riverton Fire Protection District
Rochester Fire Protection District
Sangamon County Rescue Squad
Sherman Fire Protection District
Springfield Fire Department
Virden Fire Protection District
Waverly Fire Department
Williamsville Fire Protection District
The fire chief for the Sherman Fire Protection District, Todd Masterhand, says the masks are crucial their jobs.
"The fire departments are running first response EMS, most of them, so we are going to be the first person, essentially, who comes in contact with a person who may have COVID-19," Masterhand said.
Masterhand said departments have been trying to get masks for weeks.
"We've been trying for two or three weeks to obtain personal protective equipment for some of the smaller districts," Masterhand said. "They have limited budgets, and they also have limited storage space. Most of them can't afford to go out and purchase cases of masks, cases of gowns, cleaning supplies, bleach, wipes, that stuff."
"I encourage anyone in the community, that has extra cleaning products, extra sanitizers, masks; that they stop by their local fire district and donate those items," he added.
Midwest Mission is also trying to give the public ways they can help. #HomeMissions is a curbside pick-up of sewing and cutting projects you can get and take home to work on and return once the restrictions have been lifted. Visit www.midwestmission.org or call 217-483-7911.