The church donated the masks on Wednesday to two D.C. hospitals

Washington National Cathedral made an incredible discovery on Wednesday after a stonemason conducted a routine check-up of the church's grounds: 5,000 medical masks in the church's crypt. The masks were obtained over a decade ago to prepare the church's clergy members for the Avian flu (H5N1) sweeping the globe at the time. Once the panic wore off, the masks were left in storage only to be forgotten about—until now.

“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,” Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral said in a press release from the church. 

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Before donating, the church received approval from both the mask's manufacturer and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make sure the masks would be effective. The masks were split between Georgetown University Hospital and Children's National, two of the city's most prominent medical institutions.

With the number of coronavirus cases topping over 1,000 in the DMV alone, this bit of news offers hope amidst supply shortages facing hospitals nationwide and beyond. It drives home their mission to be "a trusted voice of moral leadership and a sacred space where the country gathers during moments of national significance."

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To do their part in combatting the spread of COVID-19, the church has closed and offers online streaming of their services. In addition to donating medical supplies, the cathedral is also teaming up with the American Red Cross for a blood drive on March 27 to address the donation shortage brought on by the outbreak.

**All photos courtesy of Washington National Cathedral's Facebook

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