In the meantime, Gert McMullin, who created the quilt’s first panels and now works for the National AIDS Memorial, is using her sewing machine again—this time to address a different crisis.
“During the AIDS crisis, I could go and do something,” McMullin told People. “But now, I can’t. I’m not used to sitting around and not helping people.”
The masks, which are being made from leftover fabric of the quilt, will be used at facilities run by Bay Area Community Services, which serves homeless people and those struggling with addiction. The face masks will be used by both employees and residents.