On Friday afternoon 2 weeks ago, even before the new CDC guidelines about wearing cloth masks in public, Margaret Van Antwerp from the Moreno Valley Health Care Clinic reached out to me to see if I could help her locate people with a sewing machine, who would be willing to help sew face masks. Her very first concern was the safety of all the amazing people who serve us here in valley in the stores that remain open.
Within a few hours Renee Kuharski, GeorgeAnne Fore, Carol Sterling, Jan Zientara, Janet Warner, Lucy Humbert, Carolyn Smith, Kathie Westlund, Becky Bruening, Mary Velle, Barbara Arko and Tammy Natter were on board. Later in the week Tammi Duncan, Kai Marcy and Zelda Drew joined in the efforts. And Lynn Hatfield and Audra Berg France managed find elastic, where no-one else could.
The first weekend we made about 100 masks that Margaret was able to distribute to the employees our open retail stores. Since then we have made an approximately 400 more masks, that have been distributed for free, throughout the community. Lastly, we held a community event on Monday where we gave out masks outside the clinic.
These free masks are made with materials donated by the community and our sewing team, from materials we had on hand, Everyone has been more than generous donating money to our cause when picking up their free masks. At this time we have raised over $600 for ALM (Always Loving Mankind, our local food pantry) to help the many families struggling in our valley at this time.
Now we have changed “production” to a different kind of mask, the Olson Mask, designed for health care workers, designated to help Holy Cross Hospital in Taos and next week we’ll begin to sew washable gowns for them as well.
I’s an amazing experience to see how our community is coming together, and we all feel it’s very gratifying to be able do a little to help stop the spread of Covid-19.