International NGO Lutheran World Relief, which is known for annually sending millions of quilts hand sewn by donors to those in need around the world, is issuing the 75K Face Mask Challenge in an effort to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable communities around the world.

Lutheran World Relief seeks volunteers to sew 75,000 cloth face masks that will be sent to the areas in which it works — from slums to remote rural villages — for those who don’t have the option of social distancing or frequent hand washing, putting them at risk of serious illness. Health officials now recommend cloth face masks for reducing transmission.

The 75,000-cloth face mask goal reflects the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Lutheran World Relief, which was founded in 1945 to help communities suffering during World War II.

Volunteers are invited to register their pledge for the number of masks they will sew at LINK. The website also has instructions on how make the face masks and how to send them to Lutheran World Relief.

The cloth face masks will be distributed with upcoming international shipments of personal care kits already scheduled for summer and fall. Face masks will be distributed in communities at risk for COVID-19 transmission and are not intended to be a replacement for medical grade personal protective equipment.

This initiative is in addition to Lutheran World Relief’s wider COVID-19 response, which includes working with local partners and networks of faith-based health centers in over 30 African countries to rush equipment and supplies (including personal protective equipment) to health workers on the front lines, and to equip community and faith leaders to educate families about COVID-19 and more.

Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health have joined forces to increase our impact on breaking the cycle of poverty and promoting healthier families and communities. The two international humanitarian nonprofits are integrating IMA World Health’s global health expertise and Lutheran World Relief’s work in rural economies and emergency response, creating a unified organization that will help millions more enjoy a healthier, more prosperous tomorrow.