The Washington National Cathedral in Washington donated 5,000 N95 facemasks after the head stone mason remembered having bought them more than a decade ago.
The cathedral is known to have a massive space, 57 acres to be exact, which is why it is not surprising for the officials to completely forget about a very useful item during these times of need.
However, the longtime head stone mason, Joe Alonso remembered having purchased the masks after hearing the news about the coronavirus pandemic.
He then decided to go down to the church’s massive crypt level to confirm the purchase they made back in 2006.
The cathedral officials called both the manufacturer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention right away, to see if these masks were still safe to use.
Luckily, they received a clearance to donate the masks, and send them to two hospitals on Wednesday – 3,000 went to Georgetown University Hospital, and 2,000 went to Children’s National Hospital.
The Dean of Washington National Cathedral, Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, said, “In these difficult and trying times, the Cathedral community is doing everything we can to help protect the most vulnerable among us from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”
“We have made significant adjustments to our worship programs and made church services available for streaming online, and now we’re prepared to take this additional, proactive step to ensure thousands have access to protection that otherwise may never have been available to them.”
They also kept a small number of masks “to facilitate in pastoral care needs.”
These masks were bought when the U.S. was concerned about the bird flu known as H5N1, and were meant to allow the cathedral’s clergy to “provide pastoral care without putting their own health at risk.”
It is as if by twist of fate, the masks were stored and forgotten after the bird flu vanished without causing much damage to the country.