Disclosure: I am attending SHINE and IDEA World Virtual August 21-22, 2020 as a guest of IDEA. I was not asked to write this blog post. The associated giveaway is NOT sponsored by anyone, and was my idea. Per usual, all of the opinions expressed in this post are mine, and I wrote the entire thing myself.

Given that there’s a worldwide pandemic on, having a massive fitness conference that fills an entire convention center and all of the nearby hotel space (including ballrooms, bedrooms, and restaurants), seems like a terrible idea. Thousands of people depend on IDEA World to earn the continuing education credits they need to stay certified, and to stay on top of the latest developments in exercise science and programming. Because it is. So IDEA World did what any essential part of the fitness industry would do: it moved online.

I’ll be attending IDEA World Virtual and the SHINE social media event, which is the successor event to BlogFest. I’m not sure what it’s all going to look like, since the event had to pivot quickly. IDEA World ordinarily has four jam-packed days of multiple sessions going every hour, including workouts on the expo floor–in past years that’s included the “mega circuit” with more workout stations that you’ve ever seen–and sessions featuring workout equipment both new and old. Obviously you can’t recreate the entire live event virtually. I mean, I own a TRX and some Lebert Equalizers, but I don’t have all of the cool things I’ve gotten to try at IDEA World over the years, and I certainly don’t have a team to do group and partner-assisted workouts.

One Thing That Won’t Change: T.D. Will Be There!

Todd Durkin is the owner of Fitness Quest 10, a gym in San Diego. That’s always stood out to me: the man owns A, singular, gym. Yet his impact is felt all over the world and not just because he was one of the trainers on NBC’s Strong TV show. Probably not because he was one of the first fitness professionals to partner with Under Armour either. If you’ve never been to IDEA World, you probably don’t know that Todd has been Personal Trainer of the Year, or that in 2017 he was awarded the Jack LaLanne award, named for the original fitness guru–he was teaching physical fitness and advocating healthy eating starting the in the 1950s–and Elaine LaLanne handed him the award. The first thing Todd did? Thank Mama Durkin. Next? Thank his family.

Of course Todd got to give a speech, and he’s GOOD at public speaking. He’s regularly booked for gigantic events, so it was super awesome when he came to talk to us about making an impact at Blogfest. Todd generously gave us all copies of The WOW Book, which was his latest offering at the time. The book consisted of 52 selections from his newsletter, “Word of the Week.”

Did you know Todd Durkin has a new book?

It’s true! While he hadn’t intended to release it in the middle of a pandemic, but it turned out to be just what the world needed. The new book, Get Your Mind Right, is all about mindset. The subtitle, “10 Keys to Unlock Your Potential and Ignite Your Success” pretty much explains the content. The ten keys are taken from Todd’s own life experience, and are broken into four quarters just like a football game.

First Quarter: Game Plan and Kickoff

This section is about getting your thoughts in line: dream big, get your thoughts under control, and don’t let the obstacles get you down. This is one of the fat sections, taking up a good 50 pages. Todd tells the story about his time on NBC’s Strong, and how he dealt with some of the setbacks and challenges on that show. He also shares about his upbringing and the truth that no matter what you have or don’t have, you’re going to have challenges thrown in your path, and you’ve got to have the mindset to overcome. You’re only as strong as your own mindset thinks you are–so you have to plan in advance. That plan includes giving back to your community and giving to others, and Todd makes that clear too. How could he not? He’s given so much back to all of the communities that have helped to raise him up.

Second Quarter: Execution of Key Plays

Twenty pages is pretty short for a section in this book. But how many ways can you say “control your habits or they will control you?” Okay, so maybe Todd doesn’t say that, exactly, but once you have your mindset it is your habits that control you–how you spend your time, energy, and focus matter. There are definitely books that hammer this point home in a more solid way, such as Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. Todd gets the point across though: if you want the freedom to succeed, you’ve got to discipline yourself, and that means committing to habits.

Now you have to bear in mind that Todd is specifically laying out what has worked for him. So, for example, he’s big on getting up before the sun, because it works for him–he’s got a family and a business to run, so the early am is when he gets his “me time.” There’s nothing magic (in general) about that hour, it’s just what works for Todd. If you don’t have a spouse and kids, or you do shift work, your own magic hours might be another time slot for you. Todd lays out his morning routine and his evening routine, and while they work for him again, YOUR mileage may vary. For example, one of Todd’s points is “no caffeine after 2:00 p.m.” While he vaguely refers to a study about consuming caffeine close to bed-time, he doesn’t even tip a hat to some very important known science about caffeine: we know there are genes that code for caffeine metabolism! I have had a genetic test so I know I’m a fast metabolizer (I can have a triple mocha and then take a nap without any issues), and afternoon caffeine isn’t a big deal for me. I mean, I’m usually going decaff for after-dinner-coffee, but a 4 p.m. latte isn’t going to do jack to my sleep.

Third Quarter: Performing Optimally

I’m going to be honest with you: this section is the worst part of the book. When I say that, I mean that Todd is not in his lane here–but if you’ve been paying attention, you know I feel very strongly that the vast majority of the fitness industry (certified personal trainers, yoga instructors, group fitness instructors, barre teachers, strength and conditioning coaches) needs to NEVER give out nutritional advice. Why? Most of it is absolute rot.

When Todd recommends breaking a sweat most days during the week, that’s pretty non-controversial, establish best-practice that is evidence-based. Like there’s actual science to support it. Added bonus, there isn’t any harm in following this advice.

Hydration, also relatively non-controversial, though Todd’s endorsement of “Himalayan salt” really should have been an endorsement of a full spectrum electrolyte (and I’d prefer that accompanied by an quickie explanation of how electrolytes work to regulate hydration, and how it is possible to drink water when dehydrated and STAY dehydrated if your electrolytes are out of whack).

Then Todd goes off the rails and states definitively that you should “consider going gluten-free to get rid of brain fog and bloating,” as though these are universal problems for all people. News flash: they’re not, and the evidence does NOT support going gluten-free for the vast majority of people. (If you have Celiac Disease, of course you must stop eating gluten. But most of us do not.) This section basically regurgitates pop-diet-advice about “gluten sensitivity” that is not established as fact. Personally, I really wish fitness professionals would let the RDs and PhDs in nutrition science give evidence-based recommendations.

Similarly, his recommendation that everyone, regardless of their current health status and without any evidence to support it, take supplements is basically garbage. His first two recommendations have to do with specific amino acids. The science is far from consensus on amino acids, with some evidence showing that taking branched-chain amino acids leads to less serotonin in the brain, as the BCAAs limit uptake of tryptophan (which is a serotonin precursor). There are also a number of studies that show taking BCAAs actually REDUCES muscle protein synthesis. Todd recommend fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids, MCT oil, and a multivitamin–all of these are popular magazine and blogger recommendations without a hard basis in fact. Todd cites no evidence for these suggestions (other than that they work for him), and he doesn’t talk about the alternatives either. So long story short, do your homework on supplements. Don’t rely on Todd, or any other fitpro. Instead, look to the peer-reviewed research (try a PubMed search) and consult an evidence-based registered dietitian.

Fourth Quarter: Finishing Strong

Like any good motivational volume, this one ends with inspiration. The two chapters in this section are “tap into the whispers” and “live a live worth telling a story about.” Great advice even without the content. Now I knew this book was being published by Baker Books, which is a Christian book publisher. If you are a Christian, you’re probably thrilled that a famous fitness professional is openly writing to witness for Jesus. I’m cool with that too, even though I’m not a Christian. Who can argue with allowing your faith to play a role in your life? I mean really, if a god/goddess/higher power (by whatever name) plays a role in your life, why shouldn’t you pay attention to what s/he (or they, or it) have to tell you? Personally, I celebrate that. If you’re not Christian, I don’t think you’ll find the book “too much” (unless you happen to offend easily, in which case I don’t know how you get on in the US these days). You can just sub your personal beliefs for Todd’s as you read along.

Win Your Own!

To celebrate going to IDEA World Virtual and SHINE this year, I’m giving away one copy of The Wow Book (softcover) and one copy of Get Your Mind Right (hardback) to one lucky winner. But first, if you’re interested in attending IDEA World Virtual, you can register using this link. Use code SHINE20 for $20 off your registration. If you can’t attend, you can still check out the virtual expo for free! Just register here.

Now if I managed to do this right, you’ll see a Rafflecopter widget below. If not, click on “a Rafflecopter giveaway” to find out how to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You’ve probably heard that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” If that’s true, race directors across the country are falling all over each other to get in line to flatter race director Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell and his Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000k challenge. (For those keeping track, runners have from May 1 to August 31 to run the approximately 621ish miles across the state. A real human has already finished, and is “resting” before doing the miles to “run the other way” back to the start.)

Hmmm, that would make a good blog post…

Yesterday, I opened an email from my friends at Blue Ridge Racing. (They are the team that puts on the Blue Ridge Marathon.) Like many race organizations, all of their in-person races are canceled this season. The email was notification of the Virtual Interstate Challenge, to run the distance of I-81 in Virginia. When I shared this virtual race across Virginia with my accountability group, one of the members posted about The Great Run Across California, which is a 155, 347, or 705 mile challenge with team options.

Since I thought this was hilarious, I posted it in the facebook group for GVRAT1000 (one of the few spots on facebook guaranteed to be positive, uplifting, supportive, and 100% free of politics, bickering, woo-woo goop-esque advice, and fake-news). Within minutes the other members of the group were posting about virtual races across their states too! One runner even noted that a NY-based run was calling itself the largest virtual race, at least until a GVRAT100k runner pointed out there are around 19,000 runners signed up to run with the one and only Lazarus Lake.

It’s NOT too late to sign up to run across Tennessee with Laz, but this is America–you’ve got options! [EDIT: I stand corrected. You can still jump on this run, BUT you can’t enter any miles you ran before you registered.]

For your unbridled merriment, I present The Complete (as of now) List of Run Across A State races! NOTES: I have attempted to collect up the same information for each race so that you can make informed decisions about how much you want to run, how much you want to pay, which charities you want to support, etc. I have also attempted to find the actual event page for each event, if one exists. The most accurate information will ALWAYS be on the race’s homepage–so go there and verify! The entry fees listed below DO NOT include the processing fees charged by the registration platform, and DO NOT include any extras. Some races include a medal and a shirt in the basic swag, others do not. Read carefully!

(If You Just Want to Run For the Glory of Running…)

Runner’s World Run Streak. This year’s summer run streak kicks off on Memorial Day and runs through July 4th. No miles to log, no medal and no shirt, but plenty of social media bragging opportunities. Details: https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a27546583/rw-run-streak/

Run The Whole Country!

DetermiNation Runs the Country (June 1 to June 7)
Distance: Join Others in Running Across the Country
Race Director: American Cancer Society
Charities: American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation
Registration: $25 (no shirt) or $50 (shirt)
Special Note: Fundraising incentives include goodr sunglasses and more
https://runsignup.com/Race/NY/NewYork/DetermiNationRunstheCountry

Amerithon (no date restriction)
Distance: 3,521 miles (run, walk, bike, swim) solo or team
Race Director: Run the Edge
Charities: Unknown
Registration: $75, $50, or $25 (you choose the level of swag you want)
https://shop.runtheedge.com/pages/amerithon

Great American 5000 (June 14 to September 14)
Distance: 5000k or 3107 miles (teams of up to 24)
Race Director: Sports Backers
Charities: Unknown
Registration: $50
https://www.sportsbackers.org/events/great-american-5000/

America Strong Mileage Challenge (June 1 to June 21)
Distance: How many miles can you run?
Race Director: Planet Ultra
Charities: Not applicable (help Planet Ultra survive this time)
Registration: $35 (options to avoid race platform fees)
Special note: everyone who runs 15 miles per week will be added to a prize drawing
http://runplanetultra.com/americastrong-mileage-challenge

Multi-State Runs

Mountains to Sea Virtual Run (June 1 to September 20)
Distance: 350 miles
Race Director: Upstate Ultras
Charities: Unknown
Registration: $60
Special detail: choose from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, or Virginia (belt buckle design features the state you choose)
https://runsignup.com/Race/SC/Sunset/MountainstoSeaVirtualRun

Run the States Challenge (May 25 to September 7)
Distance: 379k (Missouri), 630k (Kansas), 1000k (I-70 Challenge)
Race Director: Unknown (the race website does not include this information)
Charities: the Canine Challenge proceeds go to unnamed “local animal shelters”
Registration: $39 (MO or KS), $49 (I-70), $25 Canine Challenge
https://runsignup.com/Race/Info/MO/KansasCity/I70VirtualChallenge

Road to Gettysburg Challenge (May 23 to October 17)
Distance: four options from 132 miles to 991 miles (representing the distance from one Civil War battlefield to Gettysburg)
Race Director: Unknown (the race website does not include this information)
Charities: None identified
Registration: $60
https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/Gettysburg/RoadtoGettysburgBattlefieldChallenge

California

The Great Run Across California (May 1 to August 30—teams have 30 days)
Distance: 155 (San Francisco to South Lake Tahoe), 347 (SF to LA), 705 (whole state)—team or solo
Race Director: All Community Events
Charities: The Children’s Heart Foundation
Registration: $29.99 (through May 20); $40
https://runsusa.com/greatrunacrosscalifornia

Run Across California
Distance: San Diego to Oregon; San Diego to Arizona
Race Director: Kinane Events
Charities: Feeding American California Food Banks; Miles of Smiles
Registration: $50 or $40
https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/SanDiego/RunAcrossCalifornia

California Coast 500 (June 8 to September 7)
Distance: 500 miles (Santa Monica Pier to San Francisco); option for 100, 250, or 400
Race Director: Run Local
Charities: programs to feed children
Registration: $60
https://runlocalevents.com/california/

Chase the Jester Across California (May 25 to December 31)
Distance: seven options from 220 miles to 1,364 miles
Race Director: “The Jester” (Edwin William Ettinghausen, presumably with help from Andrea Ettinghausen
Charities: Project 99 (fighting teen suicide); Living Free (animal sanctuary)
Awareness & Action: Push the government to get 988 (the newly designated National Suicide Awareness & Prevention Hotline) operational NOW—the Congressional oversight committee approved it in December 2019 but they “need” 18 months to put it into place? NOPE. Let’s get that 988 operational NOW. It’s much easier to remember than 800-273-8255 (the current number)
Registration: $59.88 and up (longer events = more bling)
https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/SanFranciscoLakeTahoeLosAngeles/ChaseTheJesterAcrossCalifornia

Colorado

Virtual Colorado Trail Challenge (June 1 to September 3)
Distance: 500 miles (solo or team)
Race Director: Bear Chase Race Series/Runners Edge of the Rockies
Charities: Colorado Trail Foundation; Tunnel to Towers COVID-19 Heroes Fund
Registration: $65 solo; $130 2-person team
Special Note: there are competitive category challenges (e.g. most vertical feet in one day)
https://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=77426

Colorado Trail Challenge (June 1 to August 31)
Distance: 486 miles
Race Director: 3W Races
Charities: The Colorado Trail Foundation; Athletes Serving Athletes
Registration: $70
Special notes: option to bike all your miles, or to enter a combined run/bike/etc.; relay team option (up to 6 run/walk or 3 bike); 28 digital badges; facebook group
https://www.coloradotrailchallenge.com/

Connecticut

The NUTmeg Challenge (May 25 to July 14)
Distance: 155, 253, or 328 miles
Race Director: Unclear (not stated on event website)
Charities: Connecticut Food Bank; Bridgeport Rescue Mission; Mercy Learning Center
Registration: $35 (register by June 1 to be guaranteed a medal)
https://runsignup.com/Race/Events/CT/Anywhere/TheNUTmegChallenge

Florida

The Sunshine State Challenge (May 18, 2020 to June 30, 2021)
Distance: 1,121 miles or 330 miles
Race Director: Advanced Running Project
Charities: ReTree PC (tree planning to replace Panama City trees destroyed in Hurricane Michael)
Registration: $60
https://www.sunshinestatechallenge.com/

Florida Virtual Challenge (June 1 to October 31)
Distances: 1000K / 500K / 100 Mile
Race Director: Chris Lauber, Florida Road Races
Charities: Running Starfish Foundation, Inc. for distribution to other small non-profits.
Registration: $60 for the 1000K; $55 for the 500K; $50 for the 100 Miler
https://runsignup.com/Race/Donate/FL/SaintPetersburg/FloridaUltimateVirtualRuns

Illinois

The Great Run Across Illinois (May 1 to July 31)
Distance:390 miles (north-south) or 210 miles (east-west), solo or team
Race Director: All Community Events
Charities: Illinois Nurses Foundation
Registration: $34.99 until May 20; $40 after
https://allcommunityevents.com/greatrunacrossillinois

Minnesota

The Great Run Across Minnesota (May 1 to August 30)
Distance: 407 miles or 181 miles; solo or team
Race Director: MNruns.com part of All Community Events
Charities: Special Olympics Minnesota
Registration: $29.99 until May 20; $40 after
https://mnruns.com/greatrunacrossminnesota

New Hampshire

Run New Hampshire Challenge. (June 15 to October 11)
Distance: 599 miles (team options available)
Race Director: Millennium Running
Charity: Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Registration: $30
http://www.millenniumrunning.com/runnh

New Jersey

The New Jersey Virtual Challenge. (May 15 to July 15)
Distance: 28 miles (Boardwalk Challenge), 117.2 miles (Run the NJ Turnpike), 172.4 (Run the Garden State Parkway), 289.6 (Toll Booth Challenge ), 579.2 miles (Jersey Devil Road Tour Challenge)—the website has these broken out by average miles per day
Race Director: CompuScore
Charities: CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for kids in foster care), The Community FoodBank of New Jersey
Registration: $40-$85
https://www.compuscore.com/

New York

New York State Virtual 434 (May 15 to September 15)
Distance: 434 miles (Niagara Square, Buffalo to Times Square, NYC) with options for 70, 150, 290, and 868 miles
Race Director: Score This
Charities: FeedMore WNY (fka The Food Bank & Meals on Wheels)
Registration: $60
Special detail: run/walk, bike, and swim offered as separate events
https://www.nysvr434.com/

One NY Virtual Challenge (“now” to August 31; last day to register is July 5)
Distance: 1000k or 500k (team or solo option)
Race Director: Upstate Event Management LLC
Charities: Direct Relief (COVID-19 PPE and medication)
Registration: $60
https://runsignup.com/Race/NY/EntireState/OneNY

NYCRuns Subway System Challenge (Memorial Day to Labor Day)
Distance: 245 miles (New York City Subway system tracks!)
Race Director: NYC Runs
Charites: Robin Hood Relief Fund
Registration:$0 Turnstile Jumper (no swag); $60 Token Collector (sweet swag!!); $100 Transit Enthusiast (sweet swag and surprises)
https://nycruns.com/race/nycruns-subway-system-challenge

North Carolina

Run OBX (May 25 to September 7)
Distance: 300 mile Run OBX; ? Run and Ride; 800 mile Run the Ridge and Run OBX (see entry below)
Race Director: Unknown; this information is not on the race website
Sponsors: Coastal Hillbilly Leather goods, RC Outdoor Supply, Ridge Supply, Grafig, Seaside Silk Screening, EDA Surf
Charities: unnamed food banks that serve the Outer Banks region
Registration: $45 or $80
Special note: race swag is all made by North Carolina businesses, including shirts (designed by Grafig in Carolina Beach and printed by Seaside SilkScreen in Wilmington), medals (Elevation Culture), and awards with goodies
https://www.run-obx.com/

Run the Ridge (May 25 to September 7)
Distance: 500 miles
Race Director: Unknown (this information is not on the website)
Sponsor: same list for the Run OBX above
Charities: unnamed local community food banks in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Registration: $45 or $80
Special Note: The Blue Ridge Mountains go through Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and West Virginia. This event is NOT the Blue Ridge Racing virtual event.
https://www.runblueridge.com/Race/NC/Cherokee/Runtheblueridge

Ohio

The Great Run Across Ohio (May 1 to August 30)
Distance: 227 miles or 454 miles (solo or team)
Race Director: OhioRuns.com, part of All Community Events
Charities: Whole Again (at-risk children)
Registration: $29.99 through May 20; $40 after
https://ohioruns.com/greatrunacrossohio#prereg

Buckeye State Challenge (May 16, 2020 to June 15, 2021)
Distance: 1,118.87 miles or 250 miles
Race Director: The Advanced Running Project
Charities: Shoes 4 the Shoeless, Inc. (provides properly fitting gym shoes and socks to kids)
Registration: $60
Special Note: There’s a cycling challenge too
https://www.buckeyechallenge.com/

Buckeye State Challenge (July 1 to August 31)
Distance: 220 miles
Race Director: Unknown
Charities: Unknown
Registration: $29.99
https://runsignup.com/Race/OH/Ohio/BuckeyeStateChallenge

Virginia

Virginia Virtual Interstate 81 Challenge (June 1 to August 20)
Distance: 325 miles
Race Director: Blue Ridge Racing
Sponsor: Fleet Feet
Charities: Feeding Southwest Virginia; Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
Registration: $45 individual; team fees vary by team size
https://runsignup.com/Race/VA/Roanoke/VirtualInterstateChallengeI81Virginia

Washington

Run Washington Challenge (June 20 to September 22)
Distance: five options from 35 miles to 277 miles
Race Director: Unknown (the race website does not include this information)
Charities: Seattle Children’s Hospital; Food Lifeline
Registration: $35 (lower mileage) $80 (277 miles)
https://runsignup.com/Race/WA/Seattle/RunWashingtonVirtualStateRace

WAVE Run 500 (June 1 to September 7)
Distance: 2325 miles (Long Beach to Cape Flattery), 265 (Cape Flattery to Port Orchard), or 500 miles (Long Beach to Port Orchard)
Race Director: Run Amok Racing, Inc.
Charites: Kitsap Humane Society; South Kitsap Help Line
Registration: $50 or $60 ($20 for doggos, but no swag for Fido)
https://runsignup.com/Race/WA/PortOrchard/VirtualRaceAroundWesternWashington

Wisconsin

The Great Run Across Wisconsin. (May 1 to August 30).
Distance: 176 or 314 miles (team or solo)
Race Director: WisconsinRuns.com, part of All Community Events
Charities: Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance, Hope Council (substance abuse), and Hunger Task Force
Registration: $29.99 through 5/20, $40 after
https://wisconsinruns.com/greatrunacrosswisconsin

Elsewhere in the World…

The Virtual Swiss Alps 800 Race (May 16 to August 16)
Distance: 800k
Race Director: Jakob Herrmann, Founder and Race Director of the Swiss Alps 100
Charities: Not applicable
Registration: $50
https://www.swissalps100.com/vSwissAlps800.asp

The Great Canadian Crossing (July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021)
Distance: 4800 km (2982.5 miles! WHOA!) or choose a single province
Race Director: 5 Peaks
Charities: NA
Registration: $85 CDN (full country) $65 CDN (one province) +mailing if outside North America
Special Note: separate options for run/walk, bike, and “multi-sport” (anything self-propelled)
http://www.5peaks.com/thegreatcanadiancrossing

Okay, what did I miss?

I’m in a bit of a hurry to get this posted, since several of the events have a discounted price that expires today (May 20, 2020). While I did run some quick searches and ask around a bit, I’m sure I’ve missed some “run across [your state here]” events. Feel free to drop a link in a comment.

At the outset, if you know me, you know I love nuun. As I am typing this, there are a dozen tubes of nuun products in my cabinet, with as many promotional squeeze bottles sporting nuun art. I even like the “Immunity” products (which are basically a hydration product with vitamins and an unfortunate name selected for marketing purposes). For the purpose of this article, I probably could have picked any of the countless products that landed in my inbox to “boost” my immunity–this is just one example. I was slightly annoyed when I got a bunch of email ads for nuun’s “Immunity” products, wrapped in the guise of “how to stay healthy while flying.” That might have been fine, had it not been at the exact same time we started to get the earliest news about the novel coronavirus COVID-19. (I tweeted to nuun and told them it was in poor taste–my friends who are current and former nuun ambassadors agreed.)

As the virus itself began to spread in the United States, nuun joined the throng of companies regularly invading my inbox and my social media feeds to sell me something to “boost” my immunity, or worse as “protection” against the virus. (Word to the wise: there is currently NO product approved by the FDA, or any health or medical authority, to prevent COVID-19, as there is currently no evidence that any product can do so.) Aside from my general disgust with the entire lie that is “boosting” immunity, as if your immune system is an engine you can hit turbo-charge on without setting it on fire (a “boosted” immune system doesn’t just attack invaders, it attacks your own body, and we call that an auto-immune disease—it’s why those who have an auto-immune disease take medication to suppress the immune system, or “un-boost” it), I am specifically disgusted by every company trying to capitalize on the general population’s fears during a global pandemic.

(BTW if you don’t want to read the explanation about what’s inside? Feel free to skip to the summary and conclusion.)

Screen capture photo of an email add for nuun's "Immunity" product
More like “our profits come first.” Actual screen capture of the email from my inbox. Notice the emphasis on the “botanical blend”? More on that later…

Like most supplements, the website for nuun’s two flavors of “Immunity” doesn’t have any citations to peer-reviewed research, other published studies, or even clinical trials, of the products. (Since I wasn’t able to find any, I’m assuming the lack of links and citations on the website confirms their non-existence.) Absent those, we’ll just have to take a look at the product itself.

Let’s Look At The Main Ingredients

The “Ingredients” list on the nuun website is pretty innocuous: Dextrose, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Stevia Leaf Extract, Avocado Oil, Rice Concentrate. Translated, those are: sugar, a weak organic acid that occurs naturally in citrus fruits but is also manufactured industrially, “Natural Flavors,” a sweetener that is not sugar, avocado oil, and rice hulls.

Dextrose is a simple sugar made from corn. It is chemically the same as glucose, which is the form that sugar takes when it circulates in the blood. It may also be called “corn sugar” (NOT “corn syrup”) or “grape sugar.”

Citric Acid is what gives citrus fruits a tart taste. It is used in food products for flavor, and to acidify things, but also as a chemical agent that bonds things together (a chelating agent).

“Natural Flavors” is a term that is defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (a part of the Department of Health and Human Services) in the federal rules that regulate food labeling, specifically 21 CFR sec. 101.222

“The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

21 CFR sec. 101.222

If that seems really broad to you, it is. When you see “natural flavors” on a label is it made of wheat? Or shellfish? Or eggs, or milk, or tree nuts, peanuts, or soybeans? You can’t tell—and that’s why people with Celiac Disease, and people with food allergies, avoid packaged foods that use the term. The benefits to manufacturers is that if they have to change the exact formula–say, red grapefruit extract becomes unavailable, but they discover they can use a pomelo extract and get the same taste–they don’t have to change the product labels. (Changing a product label is a very expensive and time-consuming process.)

Stevia leaf extract. Stevia rebaudiana is a plant that is native to South America (specifically Brazil and Paraguay). I was quite interested to learn it has only been legal for use as a food additive in the US since 2017, and it was Monsanto that began to lobby the US for testing and approval of stevia in the 1980s. What makes stevia particularly useful as a sweetener is that the human body does not metabolize the glycosides in it—which is why it has no calories—AND it does not ferment stevia (so you don’t get the tummy trouble caused by some sugar alcohols). You can read more than you ever wanted to know about stevia leaf extract, including the FDA paperwork approved it for “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) status for use in food.

Side note: wait, if there’s sugar, why is there also stevia? Simple: stevia can have a bitter aftertaste (and some people taste it more strongly than others). A blend of stevia leaf extract and sugar allows a product to reduce the amount of sugar it contains, while still remaining palatably sweet.

Avocado oil is an edible oil pressed from avocado fruit. It is used as an ingredient in food products. Primal Kitchen, for example, makes a mayo using avocado oil, and sells it separately as a cooking oil. It has a really high smoke point (meaning you can turn the temperature way up before the oil in the pan will start to smoke). Since it doesn’t have a strong flavor, avocado oil can be used to help spread/carry other flavors. It is high in the “good fats” (monounsaturated fat) and Vitamin E, which is one of the reasons it is also a popular ingredient in skin care and cosmetic products.

Rice hulls are not what you’d think of as actual rice. Instead, this is the outer fiber and silica layers of rice; this is used as an anti-caking agent (keeps powdered ingredients from sticking together/clumping) in place of something like silicon dioxide.

But Wait! There’s More!!

But this isn’t actually a complete ingredients list. If you look at the “Nutrition Info” section, you can see the rest of them. Below is the “amount per serving” listed on the website as of today. (“DV” is similar to”RDA,” but it does not account for age, gender, or pregnancy.)

  • Sugars 2g (this is the dextrose)
  • Vitamin A (as beta carotene) 450 mcg (50% DV)
  • Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) 200 mg (222% DV)
  • Vitamin D (as ergocalciferol) 10 mcg (50% DV)
  • Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopherol) 3 mg (20% DV)
  • Calcium (as calcium carbonate) 15 mg (<2% DV)
  • Magnesium (as magnesium oxide) 15 mg (4% DV)
  • Zinc (as zinc sulfate) 5 mg (45% DV)
  • Selenium (as selenium rice chelate) 20 mcg (36% DV)
  • Chloride (as Himalayan sea salt) 40 mg (2% DV)
  • Sodium (as sodium bicarbonate, Himalayan sea salt) 100 mg (4% DV)
  • Potassium (as potassium bicarbonate) 150 mg (3% DV)
  • Proprietary Herbal Blend (125 mg): (1) Elderberry extract [Sambucus nigra L. (fruit)], (2) Organic Ginger Powder [Zingiber officinale L.(root)], (3) Organic Turmeric [Curcuma longa (root)], (4) Echinacea purpurea (aerial)

Since a serving size is one tablet, and that is 5.4g, one serving of nuun Immunity is 2g sugar (dextrose) and 3.4g other stuff. At 15 calories, sugar accounts for more than half of the calories.  1g of dextrose is 3.4 calories, so there are 7.8 calories attributable to dextrose. (If you’re running or otherwise exercising–and even if you’re not–the small amount of calories aren’t going to hurt you. To be clear: I’m not trying to imply there is anything wrong with dextrose or calories in your electrolyte beverages.)

What Is All That Stuff?

Vitamins. You probably recognize the vitamins. Selenium powers the internet, according to Google, and allows you to work in parallel across browsers with no coding skills. (Nerd joke! Really though.) Selenium is a basic chemical element (Se, atomic number 34). It is toxic in large doses—notice it is measured in micrograms—but necessary for the human body in small amounts. (The acceptable daily limit is around 400mcg, though one study found humans can ingest 800mcg before showing symptoms.) It serves as a catalyst in a variety of necessary chemical reactions in the body.

Electrolytes. Sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium are all electrolytes. Nuun contains all of these except for phosphate. Dissolved electrolytes create a positive or negative charge. This is really important in the human body, as electrolytes help to maintain the balance of fluid inside cells and in the space between cells. If your electrolyte balance is out of whack, you can drink tons of water but still be dehydrated! (This is because your body has to maintain the right amount of electrolytes in each location–inside and outside the cell–to protect you.) Both dehydration and overhydration can cause major problems with the heart and brain.

That leaves zinc and the “proprietary blend.”

Need Vitamin C? Get an entire day’s worth in single orange–plus fiber and more! (c) Styled Stock society

Zinc

Zinc is another element that human bodies need in trace doses; it is the second-most abundant trace mineral in the human body (iron is the most abundant). It plays an important role in a large number of biological reactions in the body. The human body stores about 2-4g of zinc in the brain,  muscle, bones, kidney, liver, prostate, and eye. Zinc supplementation may help with acne and depression (when taken with an antidepressant medication).

Zinc appears in nuun Immunity because people associate zinc and vitamin C with preventing the common cold. I turned to Examine for more information because Examine does not advertise supplements or accept ads, and bases their articles on peer-reviewed science.  I also really like that each article includes a chart showing the claims and the evidence to support it. HIGHLY recommend you bookmark it.

High dose zinc lozenges appear to reduce the duration of the common cold; it isn’t clear whether zinc provides protection against getting a cold in the first place. (In other words, there isn’t solid proof zinc will prevent you from getting a cold.) Examine notes that “Zinc lozenges, for the purpose of reducing the common cold, seem to be most effective when the total daily dose is over 75 mg and is divided into 6-8 doses, each separated by 2-3 hours when awake. It is likely dangerous to take zinc lozenges for extended periods of time.” (This is because taking zinc at high levels can prevent your body from absorbing copper properly—taking too much of any one thing into the human body tends to cause a deficiency of something else.) So the 5mg of zinc in nuun Immunity? It’s on the low end for a zinc supplement. To reach the most effective dose to shorten a cold—remember it does not prevent the cold—you’d need to take 15 tablets per day.

Now if you’re just trying to make sure you get your recommended daily dose of zinc sure, one tablet is almost half. But you can also find it in food—animal products have zinc (meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, dairy) and so do plant foods. Assuming there is adequate zinc in the soil, plants with the most zinc include wheat, seeds (sesame, poppy, alfalfa, celery, mustard, pumpkin, sunflower), beans, nuts, almonds, and blackcurrant.

So how about that “Proprietary Herbal Blend”?

First, let’s look at the label “proprietary herbal blend.” This is a term supplement manufacturers use to avoid stating how much of each individual ingredient is in a product. Some supplement companies, and seemingly every blogger indexed on google, will tell you that this is a sketchy way of avoiding quality control, or hiding what’s in the product. To be fair, there is a reasonable argument to be made that a company may use that term in order to prevent other companies from marketing a competing “knock off” product, essentially stealing their special formula for a dietary supplement. I don’t find it particularly convincing as an argument though, since it’s still possible to buy that product, test it to see what’s really in it, and then knock it off anyway. Further, people who are taking multiple supplements may need to keep track of how much of a given component (like caffeine) is in each product. Federal law only says that the label must identify each component of the “proprietary blend” and list the ingredients in order by weight. So if a “proprietary blend” lists ingredients A, B, and C, the blend contains more A than B, and more B than C. If you want to get nerdy on it, take a look at 21 CFR sec. 101.36(c).

Maybe this isn’t even a big deal for nuun’s “Immunity.” At 125 mg of a 5.4 g serving, the “proprietary herbal blend” isn’t very much of the product. Let’s just do the math: one serving is 5.4g  or 5,400mg.  So 125mg = 2.31% of the product.

Elderberry extract [Sambucus nigra L. (fruit)]. Elderberry syrup has been a folk remedy for colds for like unto forever. I personally have friends that swear by it. If any group was going to make a claim that elderberry is helpful, you’d think it would be the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. But at least as of September 2016, NCCIH states “although some preliminary research indicates that elderberry may relieve flu symptoms, the evidence is not strong enough to support its use for this purpose” and “there’s not enough information to show whether elder flower and elderberry are helpful for any other purposes.” These are descriptions of research with PURE elderberry—not a product with some fraction of a proprietary blend. To be fair, there is a study that shows elderberry was helpful to reduce cold duration and symptoms, but it was limited to intercontientnal air travelers. The study is called “Elderberry Supplementaton Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travlers: A Randomins, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” It was published in the journal Nutrients in March 2016. You can read the extract on PubMed. A subsequent meta-analysis—that’s not a study, but an analysis of all published studies—shows black elderberry can be effective in treating upper respiratory symptoms. “Black elderberry (Sambucusnigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials.” This was published in the journal Complimentary and Therapeutic Medicine in February 2019. The abstract is on PubMed. Again, these are studies of actual elderberry, not a fraction of a proprietary blend. Further, the studies that indicate it might be effective show it reduces the length and symptoms—there is no evidence it is preventive.

Organic Ginger Powder [Zingiber officinale L.(root)]. Ginger is well-known for use in settling upset tummies. According to Examine, doses of 1-3 grams can fight nausea. Examine also found studies tend to show ginger reduces inflammation. But remember, we don’t know how much ginger is in the “proprietary herbal blend” and it could be less than 1g. Even if there’s a ton of ginger powder in that 125g, reducing inflammation does not mean you are protected against viruses (including the common cold—caused by a type of coronavirus). It’s also notable that loads of supplement makers and processed food manufacturers are capitalizing on the current “anti-inflammatory” trend. But there isn’t any evidence that inflammation plays a role in catching a virus like COVID-19 (or even a cold, for that matter). Before you get too excited about the “inflammation is bad” theory, you should also consider that inflammation is a necessary component of the healing process for acute injuries, and is also the reason you get sore muscles after a workout.

Organic Turmeric [Curcuma longa (root)]. The health benefits of turmeric (largely as an anti-inflammatory) are intensely overhyped, as I wrote back in October 2018. The little research that has been done is on curcumin, and turmeric is only about 3% curcumin. The articles cited on Wikipedia conclude there is no high-quality evidence for using turmeric (or curcumin) to treat any disease. There’s nothing in PubMed that backs claims for turmeric either (and not much for the 3% curcumin it contains).

Echinacea purpurea (aerial). Echinacea is widely sold to prevent or treat the common cold, but the evidence that it does so is sketchy at best. Similarly, a meta-analysis I found on PubMed indicates echinacea might have a preventative effect on upper respiratory infections BUT “whether this effect is clinically meaningful is debatable” AND there was no evidence for an effect on the duration of upper respiratory tract infections. “Echinacea for the prevention and treatment of upper respiratory tract infections: a review and meta-analysis.” Published June 2019 in the journal Complementary Therapy and Medicine. Abstract on PubMed. While there is one study about echinacea being effective against the common cold, it wasn’t a study of echinacea in general, but a study of Echinaforce (a specific brand of extract—and not what’s in nuun “Immunity”). “Echinacea purpurea: A Proprietary Extract of Echinacea purpurea Is Shown to be Safe and Effective in the Prevention of the Common Cold.”  Abstract on PubMed.

In Summary: This Is Not Going To “Boost” Your Immunity

Also, that is A Good Thing. Your immune system is a complex system of structures and processes. It’s not something you can easily manipulate with a supplement, especially if your lifestyle involves insufficient sleep. Instead of looking for magic in a potion or a pill, why not adopt some permanent healthy habits and make some lifestyle changes? The New York Times has some suggestions. My favorite? “Eat a balanced diet, exercise, and skip unproven supplements.”

Citrus fruits contain carbohydrate, fibre, vitamin C, potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and a variety of phytochemicals. (c) Style Stock Society

VERSION INFORMATION

All, there are now several groups in a much better position to do this work than I am. Because of this, I am now promoting their listings instead of mine. (I don’t have help updating this. Both of these organizations do. Plus if I dedicate my time to helping #2, we get more done. #WeBeforeMe) Both are searchable, and both have a way to enter in the specific need/ask for each organization. I strongly suggest you use these resources:

  1. Deaconess, after being inundated with masks following their call for help, has a searchable database. It covers more than the United States.
  2. COVID Mask Crafters is a facebook group where I stumbled into being an admin. It’s now a website: https://covidmaskcrafters.org/ We are US-based and focused.
  3. Healthcare workers and allies created this site to crowdsource both traditional, full-on PPE and homemade masks: https://getusppe.org/

FINAL UPDATE for location-specific info below: 3/23/2020 10:40 am PDT

INTRODUCTIONS

WARNING! Please DO NOT go sewing a bunch of masks and randomly taking them to a hospital!! No matter how good your intentions are, it is not helpful, and may be very unhelpful, to drop of supplies that are unacceptable or not needed. (Imagine if someone showed up on your door every day and gave you a bag of stale potato chips. They’re just trying to help. But now you have to deal with all the stale chips.) BEFORE you start making things, make sure they are (1) wanted, and (2) made to the requirements of the intended recipient.

WHERE TO DONATE MEDICAL-GRADE MATERIALS

Donate any N95 Masks You Have At Home. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that medical staff across the country are facing a shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). This includes scrubs, goggles,, face shields, gloves, and face masks. You’ve probably read about N95 particle filtering masks. Hospitals are desperate for those. Medical staff are literally asking on NextDoor and Facebook. (If you have any, please call your nearest medical center to see if you can donate them, or check your local news coverage.) Why are N95 masks hard to get? NPR explains. NEW!! Link to spreadsheet of hospitals seeking medical supplies–not homemade masks, but professional PPE and supplies–and how/where to donate them!

ONLY DONATE HOMEMADE MASKS WHERE THEY ARE WANTED!!

I am only listing the facilities that have confirmed they actually WANT masks. PLEASE read carefully, as each has a different need. If there isn’t one near you, try calling a local nursing home, as many nursing homes will want masks for their residents (and a colorful cheery one might be nice).

decorative image of thread
Mask-making can be a way to use up leftover materials in your stash.

WASH YOUR PERSONAL MASK DAILY IN HOT WATER

If you’re only looking to make a mask for yourself/family. There are some lovely tutorials on this page: https://www.sewcanshe.com/blog/5-free-diy-face-mask-tutorials-using-fabric If those are too fancy/advanced, scroll down to the Deaconess (Indiana) link and watch the video–the Turban Project mask is easy to sew. Please be sure to wash your own fabric masks in HOT water and dry thoroughly in the dryer. Otherwise, they might harbor bacteria. Ew.

Details Listed By State

Universal Suggestions: Pre-wash your fabric in HOT water. This is to ensure against future shrinkage. READ CAREFULLY. Every facility has different rules.

For facilities that do not have any specifics listed, my suggestion–based on the ones that do want something specific–is to use the Turban Project pattern (video on the Deaconess page, under Indiana). Use 100% cotton fabric, pre-washed in hot water (to prevent future shrinkage). Make the inside and outside different colors/patterns (so the user can easily distinguish one side from the other). Package in plastic bags or boxes, clearly labeled with the delivery information.

Got Masks To Send Now?

If they don’t match a specific ask below, please email Janie. She is generously distributing among her personal network (because even when a facility doesn’t solicit them, they may allow their employees to use them). janiehamilton86 at gmail dot com

Connecticut

Sharon Hospital (Sharon). The only details I have right now are that the drop-off point for sewn masks is Cotton Candy Fabrics, 457 Federal Road, Brookfield, CT 06804 https://www.cottoncandyfabrics.com/ I have been told they would like The Turban Project pattern (see Indiana, video on the Deaconess page).

Florida

Longwood Health & Rehabilitation Center. They are looking for 500 masks. No specific ask at this time, so please see my suggestions above. Send to: Longwood Health & Rehabilitation Center, 1520 S. Grant Street, Longwood, FL 32750 Attn: Randy Few

Georgia

Phoebe Putney hospital in Albany, GA. If you want to help, they need volunteers to sew covers for N95 masks, (These are worn over the N95 masks, so that each person can reuse the same mask for aweek.) To participate, call volunteer services  229-312-4336. To give you an example of what’s going on, they burned through a 6-month supply in a record time of like 5 days, and only have a couple days worth left. https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/News/video/volunteers-stitch-masks-health-care-workers-69681106 for a video on their efforts

Tanner Health System. This project is being coordinated by the Southeastern Textile and Quilt Museum. Full details are available on their Facebook page, including the TWO acceptable patterns (USE ONLY THOSE), drop-off location, video how-to and more. Must be 100% cotton fabric..

Illinois

Illinois Cancer Care. They are asking for the Turban Project pattern (see listing in Indiana for Deaconess there’s a video tutorial too). Full details here. Deliver to the Peoria location 8940 N. Wood Sage Rd, and pre-arrange pickup via email to [email protected]

Indiana

Deaconess Hospital (Evantston, IN which is nowhere near Chicago, sorry!!). Deaconess is welcoming home-sewn masks. They put together a resource page on how to make and donate masks. This one has an easy-to-follow video using a pattern from The Turban Project. They want 100% cotton masks–this has to do with sterilzation. Please note that this mask is not universally acceptable—you must find out what your facility wants–so call if you are going to make this one for your local facility. https://www.deaconess.com/masks A volunteer coordinator from Deaconess suggested these types of masks are always in demand for other uses too, such as for chemo patients receiving infusions. UPDATE FROM DEACONESS: Update: We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and kindness from our community, the country and the world. We now have plenty of masks coming our way. If you are from outside the Evansville, Indiana area, consider reaching out to a hospital, nursing home, cancer-related organization, etc. near you, as many other health care facilities are also experiencing shortages in masks.

Owensboro Health. See below under Kentucky.

Iowa

Unity Point Health (Cedar Rapids). The request is for a very specific pattern; the full masks (which will include a filter) get assembled at the hospital. For more details, go here: https://www.unitypoint.org/cedarrapids/sewing-surgical-masks.aspx The specific pattern and instructions on where to deliver masks is on that page.

Kentucky

Owensboro Health (serves Kentucky and Indiana). This facility has a page with spedific guidelines, including the two specific patterns they want, and the exact fabrics, etc. to use. It will be updated with drop-off information early next week. https://www.owensborohealth.org/news-events/news-media/2020/fabric-surgical-masks-information/

Maine

Statewide. Collecting masks for distribution to hospice patients, families, workers. Accepting both The Turban Project (see Indiana listing for Deaconness) and N-95 covers (see Washington listing for Northwest Kidney Centers). Requestor emphasized these will not be used in place of Proper PPE for healthare providers, or for COVID-19 positive. (These will free up the precious PPE for those who really need it!) Please send to Christii Maquillan, 42 Cedar St., Bangor, ME 04401

Massachusetts

Burlington, MA (Boston area). The only information I have right now is this post: https://patch.com/massachusetts/burlington/coronavirus-lahey-hospital-seeks-volunteers-sew-masks

Michigan

Henry Ford/Alliance. They have just made their own prototype, and will be looking for volunteers to make masks and face shields. Their model is quite different from the home-sewn ones. Here’s the video of their prototype: https://www.michiganradio.org/post/its-controlled-chaos-healthcare-workers-mask-supplies-dwindle-0 As of March 20 they had distributed a somewhat complex pattern to use (which I have). This morning I was notified the project is ON HOLD. Henry Ford is NOT accepting ANY masks at this time. I will update as I learn more.

McLaren (Bay City and Macomb). BAY CITY location is currently accepting masks, according to coverage by WNEM. I do not have any further specific information. Drop off at the McLaren marketing building, 503 Mulholland Ave, Bay City, MI. Drop off from 8am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. MACOMB location is accepting masks, 1000 Harrington Street, Mt. Clemens, MI 48043. Please deliver masks to the ER entrance. FLINT location is collecting volunteer contact information, which they will use if they need to ask for masks later. To sign up, call 810-342-3895.

St. Joseph Mercy (Ann Arbor). Accepting 100% cotton masks made using the Turban Project pattern (see Deaconess listing under Indiana). Deliver to the hospital screening staffat St. Joseph Mercy, 5301 McAuley Drive, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 Attn: Lisa Friedman, Please DO NOT call Lisa—she’s slammed with work right now.

St. Joseph Mercy (Oakland). They are accepting masks with pockets for filters (see listing under Washington for Northwest Kidney Center for pattern) or those made with fusible interfacing. Elastic or ties are good. Rectangle style is fine. Take masks to ER entrance 4405 Woodward Avenue, Pontiac, MI 48341 Attn Dana.

Kalamazoo County Government. This is an ask for masks for first responders and community. They are requesting N-95 covers, which are the same pattern used by Phoebe Putnam (see listing for Georgia). The mask pattern is sometimes called “The Phoebe.” For a .pdf with complete details including how to drop off, CLICK HERE.

Bronson Methodist Hospital (Kalamazoo). Bronson is accepting donations of the Phoebe Putnam pattern N95 covers. Please see listing for Kalamazoo County Government for a link to the pattern. Drop off is Monday through Friday from 9 to 4 at the Health and Community Services Department, at 311 East Alcott Street.

Northville. The principals of Northville Public Schools are supporting a mask drive. They want the Phoebe Putney mask design, or the Turban Project mask. You can also make face shields. Drop off at any of the NPS elementary schools (there is a box outside the main entrance at Winchester) and the Old Village School, north entrance where they will be collected and distributed as needed.

New Hampshire

Dartmouth-Hitchcock. This medical group sent out a call for N95 masks and gloves. They are now asking for the Turban Project style masks. Full details on their website.

North Carolina

UNC Health. No specifications as to which masks they want are available at this time. I suggest the Turban Project (Deaconess) or The Phoebe (Phoebe Putney) models. They are accepting homemade masks at four locations:

  1. UNC Health Learning Street, 2001 Carrington Mill Blvd., Morrisville, NC 27560. Drop-off times: March 23; Noon – 4 p.m., March 24-27; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  2. UNC Wellness Center at Meadowmont, 100 Sprunt Street Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517. Drop-off times: March 23 – March 28, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  3. UNC Wellness Center at Northwest Cary, 350 Stonecroft Lane Cary, North Carolina 27519. Drop-off times: March 23 – March 28, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  4. Rex Wellness Center of Raleigh, 4200 Lake Boone Trail Raleigh, NC 27607. Drop-off times:March 23 – Friday, March 27, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

WakeMed. They are NOT accepting homemade masks. Please DO NOT give them any!

Oklahoma

Stillwater Medical Center. This is the message on their Facdebook page: “THESE MASKS WILL NOT BE USED FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS OR ANYONE DEALING WITH COVID-19 SITUATIONS. We are looking for seamstresses who can sew cloth masks to help with the nationwide shortage. They must be 4 layers of fabric for filtering. (Edited to add emphasis!) Here are some pictures of ones that have been made. They need to be adjustable. Our preferred pattern is from [link below] Spread the word to all seamstresses. Thanks so much. This is a perfect time to use up your fabric stash.  The donated masks will be used in other NON CLINICAL OR WORRIED WELL PATIENTS NOT REALATED TO COVID-19. This will allow us to save our N95 masks & other PPE for Healthcare Workers. Donated masks can be dropped off at our Stillwater Medical Plaza building, located at 1201 S. Adams from 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. All donations will be laundered before dispersing to our various areas where they are needed. “The pattern they want: https://buttoncounter.com/2018/01/14/facemask-a-picture-tutorial/

Oregon/Washington

Providence Medical Group. There is currently no information on the Providence page about the 100 Million Mask Challenge. I requested information to publish here and will update as I am able. As of 3/20/20 9:30 am Providence has not released the details regarding what they want or where to send it. Stay tuned! https://blog.providence.org/blog-2/volunteers-making-homemade-masks-to-combat-shortages-caused-by-covid-19

Providence in RENTON, WA. Kits with enough materials to make 100 medical masks will be offered March 26 from 12-4 p.m. at Providence St. Joseph Health, located at 1801 Lind Ave. S.W. in Renton. BUT ACCORDING TO THE PROVIDENCE SITE THE KITS ARE ALL CLAIMED: https://www.providence.org/lp/100m-masks GREAT NEWS!! They got so much media coverage that local businesses stepped up to make ALL the masks! Kit distribution is canceled! I’m on the people-who-sew-and-can-help list and will update when I get more information.

Maryville Nursing Home. Their ask was for people to sew scrubs and masks. There are several ways to help. If you are NOT local, you can make the Deaconess pattern masks and mail them to: Maryville, 14645 SW Farmington Rd,, Beaverton, OR 97007. If you ARE local, they need help with the following projects: (1) people to cut fabric and N95 material to make mask kits for the seamstresses (this can be done at home–you pick up fabric and the patterns there, but work at home); (2) seamstresses to make the masks from the kits; (3) they are about to receive the polyester fabric they need to make their washable gowns and will soon need help assembling those kits and sewing the robes. Please contact mgarcia at maryville dot care if you are local and can help.

Tennessee

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Memphis). They need mask STRAPS for the kiddos. This is an entirely different project: https://www.stjude.org/get-involved/other-ways/volunteer-at-the-hospital/how-to-become-a-volunteer/at-home-projects/mask-straps.html Please use soft flannel.

Texas

Wise Health System (Decatur). The Auxiliary is sewing masks, and they would LOVE for you to help. They require 100% cotton fabric, 2-ply masks with ROUND elastic (not flat). You can use the Turban Project pattern (above, see Indiana, Deaconess for a video) but use ROUND elastic. Once completed, please mail to:

Wise Health System
Attn: Customer and Patient Relations
609 Medical Center
Decatur, TX 76234

Parkland Memorial Hospital (Dallas). Currently accepting homemade masks. Please direct your masks and your questions to: Parkland Memorial Hospital, 5200 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75235 Attn: Karen Watts

Washington

Northwest Kidney Centers (Renton). Information obtained from this press piece. They are asking for 100% cotton fabric, pre-washed, and ROUND elastic. They prefer this pattern–scroll down to the section that says “Face Mask With a Pocket for Filter Insert.” The main fabric must be cotton, but the lining can be cotton or flannel. There are two ways to donate. One, via front door drop-off to Renton Kidney Center, 603 Oakesdale Ave SW, Renton, WA 98056 (call 425-251-0647. You can also call for a porch pick-up: Deanne Young, RN 425-203-5208

Wisconsin

The Electric Needle. This shop in Madison is a drop-off point for a specific pattern, which can be used over an N95 mask (to prolong the life) or worn alone. For more information and a link to the specific pattern they want: https://www.electric-needle.com/sew-for-a-cause.htm They are located at 4281 West Beltline Hwy, Madison, WI 53711

UW Madison Hospitals. They are currently working on a pattern. You can add yourself to the volunteer list by sending an email to [email protected] I will update as more information become available.

Nationwide/Other Resources

Operation We Can Sew It. Distributes updated information by email. You can sign up at their website https://operationwecansewit.com/

photo of sewing machine
My rig is a classic

Which other facilities are asking for masks?

What is their specific ask?