Metro Nashville Mayor John Cooper calls for residents to donate masks for city employees

The city is in need of masks for essential workers. (Courtesy Pexels)
The city is in need of masks for essential workers. (Courtesy Pexels)

The city is in need of masks for essential workers. (Courtesy Pexels)

To help limit their exposure to coronavirus, Metro Nashville Mayor John Cooper is asking residents to make and donate masks to city employees who are continuing to work during the widespread outbreak.

Essential Metro Nashville workers, such as bus drivers and public health employees are continuing to work in the public and are in need of protective face coverings. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that these homemade masks are not medical-grade and do not completely protect individuals, they can limit exposure and help to conserve other masks for medical professionals.

Cooper ask residents in a social media post April 6 to donate homemade masks to the Community Resource Center, located at 218 Omohundro Place, Nashville.

Officials with Vanderbilt University Medical Center released instructions on how to make masks at home. The medical center is also taking mask donations to distribute to hospitals.

Instructions from VUMC are listed below.


Materials needed

  • Tight-weave cotton fabric or quilting cotton that has not been used, was purchased in the past year and has been washed without fragrances or dyes

  • Rope elastic in 1/4-inch or 1/8-inch width

  • Sewing machine or needles and thread


One adult mask—the kind most in need—requires two 9-inch by 6-inch pieces.

How to make the masks


  1. Put right sides of cotton fabric together horizontally.

  2. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner and then stop. Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.

  3. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.

  4. Now, sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again, put in elastic with the edge out.

  5. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.

  6. Sew across the bottom, leaving about 1.5-2 inches open. Stop and cut the thread; then, turn inside-out.

  7. Pin three tucks on each side of the mask, and make sure the tucks are the same direction.

  8. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.


City officials are advising residents to wear a cloth face covering when in a public setting or when it is difficult to be at least 6 feet away from another person, such as at the grocery store. However, the masks are not a substitute for social distancing, which should still be practiced.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.