URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Health officials say personal protective equipment (PPE) is important, but in short supply during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Some PPE can be handmade. People in the community took that information, and started making it into a mask-crafting movement.
“A Carle administrator reached out to myself, as well as a couple other pastors in town…[asking] us to kind of amplify this call for people who are seamstresses or sewers to make these masks,” says CU Church Pastor Jason Epperson.
Carle Hospital in Urbana is accepting sewn non-clinical masks right now. Carle says it does have enough surgical masks and other PPE for their medical providers who are in direct contact with patients, but it’s taking mask donations to give to people in non-clinical roles at Carle locations. Those people are just as in need of that added layer of protection.
CU Church in Urbana put a call out to sewers on Facebook and is assembling a team of volunteers. So far, the church says it has about 100 people up for the task.
“It’s a moment in the history of our country…and the history of our community where all of us can come together for a common purpose, and I think in a country that’s so divided, it’s an incredible opportunity to come together no matter what your background or belief system is,” says Epperson. “This is a moment we can all come together to defeat something.”
Carle says these masks won’t protect from COVID-19, but may help prevent the spread of germs.
Georgia Barton is just one of the volunteers on board. She’s been sewing her whole life.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. Yes! This would be a great opportunity to make some masks. I know how to sew,'” says Barton. “This is a great opportunity to help the people who are taking that risk to help the community members who are sick.”
And in good social distancing practice, Barton showed us her skills via video chat. She says it takes her about 15 minutes to make one mask, and it’s an easy skill to learn if you want to join their fleet.
“I’m willing to teach anyone through messenger or Zoom how to make these masks…for your loved ones…for your relatives that are elderly…for anyone,” says Barton.
There is a list of criteria volunteers must meet when making masks. Carle has a link to a YouTube demonstration video to that.
Carle will schedule pick up for packages of sewn masks from porches within Champaign and Vermilion counties. Volunteers must bundle masks in sealed zip lock bag in loads of 25. Pick up must be arranged by emailing email@example.com