During these uncertain times, how can we help?

As the world leader in volunteerism we feel a responsibility to unite our broader community, and to use this moment to become stronger.

See below to access our COVID-19 Resource Hub, and to explore our growing directory of COVID-19-specific and virtual volunteering opportunities.
Read More

Make Face Masks!

Save to Favorites

House of Charity


Our kitchen staff feeding the community, our receptionists interacting directly with the public, and everyone else still working on-site are at risk of contracting the Coronavirus and being a vehicle for spread. The same goes for our residents, many of whom are older and are immune-compromised. Due to the speed at which the Coronavirus is spreading, face masks have been in high demand. NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) approved N95 respirators have been in short supply and would usually be the first choice for our staff and residents. Nonetheless, fabric and cloth face masks can still guard against droplets harboring the virus --like when someone sneezes or coughs without fully covering their face. This is where you can step up and keep our organization healthy and operational!

Please consider making cloth or fabric face masks so that our staff and clients can better protect themselves from COVID-19. If you know how to sew face masks already, you are welcome to utilize the method that works for you, as long as it provides at least two layers of protection. Feel free to adapt your method based on the one below using a MERV 13 filter --it can filter out viruses.

Once they are ready, contact Noah Chan to organize a drop off at n.chan@houseofcharity.org

Sewing Method

Disclaimer: unlike the No Sew method, this one does not involve a MERV 13 filter, however a two layered face mask still has protection against sputum droplets. If you feel confident and or are sewing-savvy, feel free to sew in a layer of MERV 13 filter material!

Easy print out instructions:

https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/6d5955d7-ca75-4486-86d6-ccd808cf0870/downloads/Face Mask Instructions.pdf?ver=1584884117465

You will need:

  1. Two pieces of fabric that are 6" x 9"
  2. Two pieces of elastic cord cut to 7" with knots tied at each end
  3. A sewing machine or thread and needle
  4. Pins


  • Place the fabrics on top of one another with their pattern sides facing each other --if your fabric does not have a pattern print, that is okay.
  • Start sewing on the long side from the middle. Reach the corner and turn the fabric ninety degrees.
  • Before continuing, tuck the elastic cord underneath the short side along the edge with the knot sticking out. This is where you will attach it to the fabric.
  • Sew and back-sew over the corner and the elastic end. You need the cord secured. Before continuing, be careful not to sew the entire length of the elastic to the fabric, rendering it unusable.
  • Sew down to the next corner. Stop and turn it ninety degrees once again.
  • Once again, tuck the elastic cord underneath the short side where you are about to sew, with the knot sticking out.
  • Sew and back-sew over the corner and the elastic end.
  • Turn the fabric and sew down the entire bottom stretch of the fabric. Stop at the corner, turn the fabric, and sew on the elastic cords like you did before.
  • For this next part, only sew forward an inch or two.
  • Pick up the fabric and turn it right-side out, exposing the patterns.
  • After turning it right-side out, sew the remaining edge so that it is fully closed up and sealed.
  • In this next part you will be making the folds you would usually see on a medical, procedural mask.
  • Doing one side at a time, fold three even length tucks on the short side near the elastic cord. Pin it down if you must.
  • Sew over those tucks and repeat the same thing on the opposite side, folding the tucks in the same direction and sewing it in the same direction. As well.
  • You’re done!
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyDtrobkaxg (original tutorial)

No Sew Method

Disclaimer: this is not a replacement for a medical grade, N95 respirator but it is a great alternative. MERV 13 is an air filter that can filter out extremely small particles which viruses attach to for them to travel. It specifically filters particles 0.3 - 1.0 microns and an N95 respirator filters out particles that are 0.3 microns. Also, the maxi pad may seem like an odd component to the list, it helps to pull moisture away from the wearer’s face. Mask wearers sometimes feel their face growing hot and uncomfortable, the pad will help alleviate that issue.

What you will need:

  1. Merv 13 Filter


  2. Scissors
  3. Maxi Pad
  4. Glue Gun
  5. Hot Glue
  6. Ruler
  7. Aluminum Foil
  8. Stretchy fabric material (you can use clean, recycled T-shirts, leggings, etc.)
  9. Hair Ties or rubber bands

  • Remove MERV13 cardboard packaging around the filter

  • Cut a rectangle that is 6" x 9" from the MERV13

  • Carefully peel the wire layer away from the soft layer (use gloves for extra protection)

  • Turn your glue gun on to heat

  • Grab your fabric material and a cut a rectangle that is approximately 6" x 10". These proportions could also be 6" x 12" depending on your material. Use your best judgement.

  • Cut a separate strip of fabric (not from the piece you just cut) that is 1" x 6"

  • The MERV13 rectangle you have cut out has an accordion-like crease pattern. Scrunch pinch the folds on this pattern so that it is scrunched up and narrow.

  • Using rubber bands or hair ties, tie off the ends of the scrunched up MERV13 and then spread out the creases in the middle. This is so that wearers may breathe more easily. The result should be an oval shaped filter.

  • Unwrap the maxi pad and trim the outer, excess ends so that it fits better inside of the filter.

  • Gently push the trimmed pad into the concave side of the filter with the sticky side down.

  • Set out your fabric on a surface. Lay the filter on top of your fabric material with the concave side facing up. Make sure that filter and fabric are both sitting lengthwise.

  • Apply a line of hot glue along the very top edge of the filter and pinch down the top edge of the fabric. Repeat this step for the bottom. It should be a loose fit so that the fabric is able to stretch and expand.

  • For this next part, you will glue the left and right sides of the fabric to the filter, crisscross. Put a drop of glue on the left side of the filter, past the rubber bands, and pull the top side of fabric down on to that glue at an angle.

  • Put another drop of glue near the same spot on the filter and pull the bottom side of the fabric up and on to the glue at an angle as well. This diagonal sealing helps provide the right mask shape. Repeat the previous step for the right side now. You may use an extra line of glue across the rest of the fabric to get a more secure seal.

  • This next part is for the mask to have a secure fit across the bridge of the nose. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil that is 12" long.

  • Using a ruler on the long end, fold the edge of the foil in by about 1/2 inch. Fold that end over itself and crease it. Repeat this until you are left with a stick of foil that has a width about ½" - 1".

  • Using the edge of the ruler, press down on the entire length of your foil stick so that you leave an indent all the way across it. Use that crease to help you fold it one more time.

  • Apply a line of hot glue halfway around the inside of the mask along the crescent shaped contour that will reach from cheekbone to cheekbone. This is the top part of the oval where the nose meets the mask.

  • Press the foil in hard along this crescent of hot glue. The foil stick should be sticking out a bit at the ends. Make sure not to glue the stick around the entire contour of the oval, just halfway. Glue the remaining foil stick on both sides of the mask, straight.

  • Fold the dangling ends of the material in half and cut small holes with a scissors.

  • Pull that strip of fabric you cut earlier and pull it through the holes!

  • You’re done! The wearer will tie and adjust it to their custom fit.

Links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6T787NV6FpA (Original tutorial)



4 More opportunities with House of Charity

2 Reviews

About House of Charity


510 S. 8th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55404, US

Mission Statement

To feed those in need, house those experiencing homelessness and empower individuals to achieve independence.


Right from the start, in the early 1950s, House of Charity has been about transforming lives...one person at a time. Our founder, Brother de Paul, responded to the need he saw around him by providing food and shelter to the poor in Minneapolis. Since its beginnings on Nicollet Island, House of Charity has been located at several sites in downtown Minneapolis, and moved to its current location at 510 South 8th Street in 1976. Once a hotel, the building now houses 116 men and women who have experienced homelessness.

One of our primary goals is to help struggling individuals meet their basic human needs of food and shelter while reducing barriers to their long-term self-sufficiency.

We do this by providing:

  • Daily Free Public Meals at our Food Centre
  • Transitional Housing
  • Permanent Supportive Housing
  • Chemical and Mental Health Treatment
  • Public Showers
Crisis Support
Disaster Relief
Homeless & Housing


We'll work with your schedule.


714 Park Ave SMinneapolis,, MN 55404



  • Disaster Response





Report this opportunity