Des Moines Area Community College’s Carroll campus and Bomgaars are distributing 3,000 free masks to anyone who needs them at their organizations’ two locations in Carroll. And more may be on the way.
Those interested (one per person, but friends and family can pick up several to hand out) can collect the masks, double-lined fabric produced at Graphic Edge in Carroll, during regular business at Bomgaars (7:30 to 6 Monday to Saturday; 9 to 6 Sunday) and any time in the front entryway of DMACC.
“We thought it might be one more way to keep the community safe,” said Joel Lundstrom, provost of the Carroll DMACC.
Lundstrom said DMACC and Bomgaars may donate even more masks if the need emerges. DMACC trains many of the local nurses, a factor that went into the decision to provide the masks to the public, Lundstrom said.
“We are passionate about front-line workers and trying to keep the community safe and make sure they’re not over capacity in what they can serve at area medical facilities,” Lundstrom said.
As of Saturday, demand at Bomgaars remained so strong that the store had to refill its free-mask bin. The store started with 800 on Thursday.
“I think it is important to get people protected if they can,” said long-time Carroll Bomgaars store manager Mark Nepple, who stressed that wearing masks is an individual choice in the Carroll store. “We are an essential business and, as you can see, we are very busy.”
Shoppers packed the store for much of Saturday morning.
Gardening supplies are flying off the shelves and the store has a shortage of other items, ranging from trampolines as parents are looking to entertain their kids, to onion and potato seeds, to chickens.
“Seed are up huge, anything with food,” Nepple said. “In fact, for onion and potato seeds we ran out four weeks ago. Seeds are up probably up in the 100 percent to 150 percent range, and chickens have doubled because eggs were a hard thing to get.”
What’s more, the store is aggressively cleaning aisles and carts and shelves, Nepple said.
“We’ve gone through just gallons and gallons of concentrate cleaner,” he said. “That’s proven for viruses and germs.”
The store expects to have screen guards in place at cash-register stands soon as well.