OHIO VALLEY — Crafty members of the community are working to make homemade masks out of fabric for healthcare workers in need.
Many worry that the COVID-19 outbreak will cause shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the country. Some local hospitals and nursing homes are requesting donations of the homemade fabric masks that local sewers and quilters have been making.
Debbie Duvall is a member of Soothing Stitches, a group of five ladies in Meigs County, Ohio, who make quilts for sick children. Duval and her fellow members have switched from making quilts to making masks.
“We started the whole project because we know that a lot of our Soothing Stitches kids still have to go out for appointments, treatments, etc. and we wanted them to be protected,” Duvall said. “It then grew from there.”
Duvall said the group began making masks a few weeks ago for the Soothing Stitches children and their immediate families. They sent approximately 100 masks to them.
The sewers have sent 170 to two local nursing homes. In total, Soothing Stitches have made close to 400 masks in about 10 days.
Amber Ridenour, owner of Bed Head Cardinal Fabric and Quilting in Chester, Ohio, is also making masks for individuals and now healthcare workers.
“Most of the masks I have made have gone to individuals needing them, but now that many local hospitals are asking for help, I will be focusing on that,” Ridenour said.
Many people making masks have had difficultly finding elastic to use as the earpieces. Duvall said one of their daughters bought several packs of elastic when they got started. She said they have enough to make about 200 more masks and then will switch to making earpieces that tie.
The masks that Duvall is making are made from 100 percent cotton. Some homemade masks have a pocket to insert filters for extra filtration. Duvall said their masks do not have the insert pocket, but they still offer another layer of protection.
Ridenour said most patterns call for at least two layers of tightly woven cotton, but some healthcare facilities are requesting specific patters or materials.
“As the need for homemade masks is increasing, many different health facilities are asking for a certain pattern,” Ridenour said. “So it is definitely recommended to check their website and Facebook page to make sure their standards are being met.”
Ridenour said Holzer Health System requested their homemade masks be made out of canvas, denim or duck cloth as the outer layer.
“I started making the masks because I have the ability and want to do my part to help those that have such a need for them,” Ridenour said.
Duvall and the other ladies with Soothing Stitches are currently making masks for Marietta Memorial Hospital, who recently asked the public for donations after originally not accepting the fabric masks.
Duvall said they are donating the masks to sick children and families, nursing homes and hospitals, but are asking for a small donation from the general public if they would like masks. Duvall said all the money from those donations will go toward quilts when they resume making those. Duvall also said that followers of the Soothing Stitches Facebook page sent donations when they heard about the project.
Tracy Call, executive director of marketing and business development with Pleasant Valley Hospital (PVH), said that the hospital is asking for volunteers to make masks if they have the ability. PVH is asking that the masks be made of 100 percent cotton and a pattern from www.craftpassion.com.
Call said PVH could also use other supplies — including cleaning supplies, rubbing alcohol, bleach, and other PPE, such as gloves, head cover, shoe cover and disposable coveralls. Donations can be dropped off at the main entrance to the hospital.
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Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.