COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, critical supplies like masks, have become increasingly hard to come by.
Seamstresses and crafters in different cities across the United States have taken to their sewing machines to solve this problem, making home-made masks for healthcare workers or anyone who might need one.
There’s a group right here in the Midlands that is working to solve the mask shortage with some fabric and needles.
The Facebook group is called Seamstresses with a Purpose, where dozens of people who want to help are putting their time and fabric to good use.
“All the folks who are out there keeping food on my table and all of the medical personnel who are doing all they can, so it’s just my small way of helping,” Nancy Mclendon, the owner of Swan Sewster, said.
Melisa McLeod says since she started Seamstresses with a Purpose five days ago, they’ve already made over 500 masks.
“It’s overwhelming to see the community jump into action,” McLeod said.
The more than 45 volunteers have pitched in by donating fabric, sewing, and delivering the masks to organizations across the midlands.
“You’re home, and it’s giving you some purpose and how to help everyone,” Anna Lee Jewell, a member of the group, said.
McLeod said the masks aren’t a replacement for N-95 masks and so they won’t be used for COVID- 19 patients. She said they are rather an extra layer of protection for people like the elderly in nursing homes, housekeepers, chefs, delivery people, and ancillary staff in the medical field.
She said so far the masks have been donated to places like the Providence Hospital Laboratory, the Free Health Clinic, and nursing homes in the Midlands.
“I hope they know the love that is coming from these seamstresses is felt, I hope they know that the community has come together for them and we are thinking of them and praying for them,” McLeod said.
The CDC gives guidelines on the use of homemade masks, saying that in settings where facemasks are not available, healthcare providers can use homemade masks as a last resort. CDC officials state on their website that homemade masks are not considered PPE.
McCloud said that’s why at this time they are only being used in areas not involved with COVID-19 patients.
To join Seamstresses with a Purpose, click here.
Seamstresses with a Purpose isn’t the only way to help make a mask here in the Midlands.
You can go to any JoAnn fabric across the nation and pick up free fabric and supplies. You can find a pattern and instructions on the JoAnn Fabric and Crafts website.
Once you’ve made the masks you can donate them to any JoAnn fabric store and they will donate the masks to hospitals.