1,400 DAR Chapters From All 50 States Serve America from Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic & Give Back to their Local Communities
In just under a year, members of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) donated more than a million handmade face masks and gathered personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers and others in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The March 17th announcement that the grassroots service project, Service to America from Home, has surpassed a million items donated came just days before the one-year anniversary of the launch of the initiative on March 21, 2020.
“We are so pleased to cross the million mask mark and to know that our members are still sewing and donating PPE to help people in need. It’s all part of a proud tradition of service that dates to our 1890 founding and I am so proud of our members,” said Denise Doring VanBuren, DAR President General. “In difficult times like these, I like to remember that it is not the emergency that defines us, but how we respond to it. As our nation grappled with the effects of the pandemic, DAR members wanted to do more to give back to those working hard to keep their communities healthy and safe. This was and remains a huge team effort by DAR members and chapters across the country.”
Nationwide, more than 1,400 DAR chapters from all 50 states and 5 overseas have participated in the organization’s Service to America From Home initiative with more than 1,000,000 masks and PPE donated to local communities across the country.
The mask-making initiative fell under the DAR’s Service to America Committee and got rolling quickly on March 21, 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic made mask-wearing a priority across the country to keep essential workers and others safe.
DAR members across the nation answered the call to start sewing, swapped patterns, and got out their sewing machines and fabric stashes. Many people – adults and children alike – learned to sew in order to make masks and PPE for essential workers and those who needed it.
They made masks for health care workers, police officers, emergency medical workers, migrant children and their families, military service members, nursing home workers, state veterans’ homes, Native American communities, and many others.
While many DAR members donated masks in their local communities, a massive “matchup” between sewists and mask requests was also done through a set of databases that were rapidly assembled within days of the initiative’s launch by tech-savvy DAR members. That system has fielded and fulfilled requests from hundreds of community organizations.
By May 2020, DAR members had already made and distributed 300,000 masks. DAR members quickly surpassed the half a million mark in June 2020, and they just kept sewing throughout 2020 and into 2021 as requests came in from communities in need. Just recently, the DAR accepted a request for 5,000 masks from a school district in Maryland that needs them for low-income children returning to classrooms.
The DAR’s work on the mask-making project hearkens back to a long tradition of service to America. DAR members organized the DAR Hospital Corps during the Spanish-American War. During World War I DAR loaned its National Headquarters land in downtown Washington, D.C. to the federal government for a temporary office building housing 600 people working on the war effort. During World War II, the DAR worked with the American Red Cross and loaned its buildings to support the war effort, even housing a day nursery for children in its basement for working military spouses.
To learn more about DAR visit www.dar.org.