To get the job done, the Twins are partnering with Faribault Woolen Mill Co. and Love Your Melon—two Minnesota-based manufacturers that have made news in recent weeks for keeping their operations rolling during the pandemic. Early in the crisis, Faribault Woolen Mill was deemed “essential critical infrastructure” by the U.S. Department of Defense designating because the heritage brand makes blankets for the U.S. military. Love Your Melon is making face masks for pediatric cancer patients and their families and is now ramping up production on face masks available for sale to the public through its website

“When waved together by 50,000 people, the Homer Hanky is a symbol of the unity, respect and passion that define us as Minnesotans – the same traits that will see our state through the COVID-19 crisis,” Twins Vice President of Community Engagement Nancy O’Brien said in a statement. “We are beyond grateful to partner with Faribault Woolen Mill Co. and Love Your Melon to transform otherwise unused stock of this iconic item into essential, protective material for those who are bravely and selflessly working to help us all during this pandemic.”

The Twins were sitting on around 25,000 2019 Homer Hankies. Each can be made into multiple face masks.

The 2019 Homer Hanky, originally manufactured by Winona-based WinCraft, is a 100-percent cotton, terrycloth towel. Love Your Melon will provide the polypropylene surgical wrap material and elastic to Faribault Woolen Mills Co., whose team of seventh-generation craftspeople will transform the Homer Hankies into lined, protective face masks. Through rounds of materials sampling with the team at M Health Fairview, the surgical wrap material was deemed the most readily acceptable material to repurpose into face masks for hospital visitors and for healthcare workers who are not directly patient-facing. The Homer Hanky will be used on the outer side of the mask and the surgical wrap material will be used as the lining.