Coronavirus: Tennessee mom, son make free disposable masks for grocery shoppers

SEYMOUR, Tenn. — It’s not a perfect solution, but a Tennessee woman and her son are working to keep local residents safe by creating disposable masks out of household items.

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Lisa Griffith, and her son, Gray Griffith, are making the single-use masks out of paper towels, paper clips, glue and rubber bands, WBIR reported. The duo made the masks for use at the Kroger grocery store in Seymour, and are hoping to expand their idea to other cities.

“I didn’t want anybody to have an excuse for not wearing a mask for when they’re in the grocery store,” Lisa Griffith told WBIR.

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The Griffiths began making the makeshift masks a week ago, offering them for free at the entrance to the Kroger store. They put the masks in small plastic bags or tissue paper and then staple them to a standing board, the television station reported. Store officials have given their blessing for the Griffiths to set up the board in front of the store.

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Customers can tear the bags off the board and use the masks to cover their mouths and noses while shopping.

“It’s really going to help the asymptomatic people who don’t know they have it and stop them from when they’re talking, just the general spit that comes out when you’re talking,” Gray Griffith told WBIR.

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The Griffiths replenish the supply of masks daily. They said that 400 masks have been taken so far.

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“If you covered the whole city, it would be amazing how many people would cover their mouths,” Lisa Griffith told WBIR.

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The Griffiths said the masks may not prevent people from getting sick, but would be helpful in preventing water droplets from spreading.

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“If a couple other people got interested in doing this, I would help any way I could that these could be in every store in the Knoxville area,” Lisa Griffith told WBIR.

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There is a tutorial on YouTube that explains how to make the masks. Lisa Griffith also set up an email address,, for people to inquire who may be interested in contributing.

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“Whenever you think about the scope of it all, it makes you consider you need more hands,” Gray Griffith told WBIR.

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