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Coronavirus: Volunteers across Montreal are in mask-making overdrive

Coronavirus outbreak: Montrealers volunteer to make masks
WATCH: Volunteers from across Montreal are in mask making mode to make sure everyone who needs a mask will get one as the city grapples with the COVID-19 crisis. Global's Kwabena Orduro has more.

Volunteers from all over the island of Montreal have been working overtime to respond to the suggestion of health officials that people should wear a mask when out in public.

Army of Masks, which was started on March 20, is calling for volunteers to help sew and donate do-it-yourself (DIY) masks to meet the urgent need in North America.

“This is probably the biggest role of my life, I think there’s no greater cause than (to) try to protect lives, and when I talk about protecting lives, you’re protecting jobs, the economy and countries,” marketing manager Tonya Dickenson said.

There are numerous ways people can get involved, Dickenson said, adding the website https://armyofmasks.com/ is updated daily.

“There’s things you can find at home,” she said. “You don’t need a sewing machine, you don’t even need to know to sew. If you go to our website, we have sew and no-sew options.”

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Dickenson has delivered homemade masks to all her neighbors, who wear them on walks proudly showcasing them — something that makes her feel emotional.

“Thank you, I love you,” she said with tears in her eyes to her neighbours as they walk by wearing her masks and telling her she’s an inspiration.

And this is not the only volunteer group in the region making homemade masks.

In Baie D’Urfe, the community is making and wearing masks with the hope to protect everyone around them.

“One of the main reasons we started this initiative is because we are all on the front line,” said Ralph Allison, a Baie D’Urfe resident who picks up the homemade masks and delivers them within the community.

“The medical professionals see the people who have the illness. We are in the front lines because we confront the virus. If we can stop the virus, they won’t see us in the hospital.”

With a lot of free time of his hands, Allison said he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to help.

“We want to make sure that everyone has a mask, because that is the way we are going to get out of this sooner. I am senior, I have the free time — why wouldn’t I help?”

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Baie D’urfe Mayor Maria Tutino jumped at the opportunity to help her community get equipped with the masks. Now, she’s calling on the provincial and federal leaders to get masks as well.

“If you want a mask, Baie D’ufre will produce it for you, so feel free to contact us,” Tutino told Global News. “It would be great to send a message all over Canada to say this is what we want our citizens to do in order to protect us all.”