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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Ismaili Council For The Midwest Drops Off 1,000 Homemade Masks As Edgewater Comes Together

In an Edgewater parking lot, Chicagoans who needed masks picked them up while others came by to donate hand-sewn face coverings.

Members of the Ismaili Council for the Midwest dropped off 1,000 homemade masks to 48th Ward Ald. Harry Osterman (red hat).
Bob Chiarito/Block Club Chicago
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EDGEWATER — The spirit of Chicago was on display in an Edgewater parking lot Saturday, as some Chicagoans donated homemade cloth masks and others picked up much-needed masks and hand sanitizer.

Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), hosted the event, which was part of a citywide drive created by Mayor Lori Lightfoot called “Chicago Together! Make a Mask, Give a Mask, Wear a Mask” in which residents make and donate homemade cloth masks for homeless shelters, community health clinics and other high-risk residents.

Credit: Bob Chiarito/Block Club Chicago

Additionally, the Ismaili Council for the Midwest, which has an office in Edgewater, donated 1,000 cotton masks made by volunteers. According to Karim Ukani, spokesman for the group, they have pledged 2,500 masks and will donate the additional ones in the weeks to come.

“We’ve been making masks for several weeks now, trying to think of ways that we could give back to the community,” Ukani said. He added that the Ismaili Council has donated a total of 7,500 homemade masks across the Chicago area thus far.

Credit: Bob Chiarito/Block Club Chicago

On Saturday, workers from Osterman’s office set up in the parking lot of St. Ita Church, across the street from his office at 5533 N. Broadway Avenue. The masks and sanitizer given out to passersby on foot and in their cars on Saturday were part of a supply from the city given to each alderman to distribute. They will also be operating from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“Edgewater is one of the most diverse communities in the city. Everyone contributed from every background and these masks are going to go to people throughout the city who need them most,” Osterman said.

Credit: Bob Chiarito/Block Club Chicago

For some, like March Olivera, an Edgewater resident the mask giveaway was a welcome sight.

“The masks are hard to find. I’ve been using a bandana but this is much better,” Olivera said.

For Shanniece Mathis and Marcos Omedeo, healthcare workers from the nearby All American Nursing Home at 5448 N. Broadway, the PPE was especially helpful. They heard masks were being given out and walked over on a break to get them.

“We have some but it’s always nice to have more,” Mathis said.

Retired CPS teacher Kathy Daniels, who lives in the neighborhood, dropped off several masks made by her friend Aiko DeVincent, another former CPS teacher who lives in Michigan and is a quilter.

Credit: Bob Chiarito/Block Club Chicago

“She wanted to do something so when she learned about this campaign she didn’t hesitate, and I’m happy to deliver them,” Daniels said.

Nancy Gladfelter, an Edgewater resident, didn’t need any masks but stopped by to give encouragement to the volunteers and noted a silver lining to a hard situation. 

“It’s a surreal time for all of us that things you never thought about doing, now you’re doing. People walking down the street who would have never said hello — now everyone has a hello. For as difficult as it is, we are all learning something about each other,” Gladfelter said.

Making Masks

For those who want to make masks, the Chicago Department of Public Health has included the CDC Guidelines on How to Make a Cloth Mask at Masks can be made from recycled cloth such as T-shirts, bandanas, jeans, thick cotton and other breathable fabrics.

Drop Off Locations

Donations will be accepted at the following locations from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays beginning Saturday, April 25 through Saturday, May 16. 

Aldermanic Offices:

  • Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st), 1958 N. Milwaukee Avenue
  • Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), 2325 E. 71st Street
  • Ald. George Cardenas (12th), 2458 W. 38th Street
  • Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th), 6272 W. North Avenue a
  • Ald. Felix Cardona (31st), 4605 W. Diversey Avenue
  • Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), 2657 N. Clybourn Avenue
  • Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd), 3001 Irving Park Road
  • Ald. Samantha Nugent (39th) and State Representative John C. D’Amico, 4200 W. Lawrence Avenue
  • Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st), 7442 N. Harlem Avenue
  • Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), 2523 N. Halsted Avenue
  • Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), 3223 N. Sheffield Avenue
  • Ald. James Cappleman (46th), 4544 N. Broadway Avenue
  • Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), 5533 N. Broadway Avenue

Participating Churches as part of the First Ladies Health Initiative (FLHI)

  • Apostolic Faith Church, 3823 S. Indiana Avenue
  • Austin Church of Christ, 4750 W Washington Boulevard
  • Blackwell-Israel Samuel AME Zion Church, 3956 S. Langley Avenue
  • Canaan Community Church, 1701 W. Garfield
  • Commonwealth Community Church, 140 W. 81st Street
  • Concord Baptist Church, 6319 S. Kimbark Avenue
  • Cosmopolitan Community Church, 5249 S. Wabash Avenue
  • Greater St. John Bible Church, 1256 N. Waller
  • Heritage International Food Distribution Center, 5312 W. North Avenue
  • Mount Carmel Bible Church, 740 E 42nd Street
  • Mount Vernon Baptist Church, 2622 W. Jackson Boulevard
  • New Mount Calvary, 1850 W. Marquette Road
  • Original Philadelphia M.B. Church, 6558 S. Carpenter Street
  • Park Manor Baptist Church, 8328 S. Green Street
  • People’s Church of the Harvest, 3750 West Fifth Avenue
  • Salem Baptist Church of Chicago, 752 E. 114th Street
  • St. James Unity Baptist, 900 S. Sacramento Boulevard
  • Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th Street
  • Unity Fellowship Baptist Church, 211 N. Cicero Avenue

The city will pick up the donated cloth masks and deliver them to the United Center, where they will be included in kits packed by TEAM Rubicon, a veteran-led global disaster response organization and distributed as needed.

For a full list of sites to donate masks to,

Credit: Bob Chiartio/Block Club
Credit: Bob Chiarito/Block Club Chicago
Credit: Bob Chiarito/Block Club Chicago