With a small army of sewers from across Montgomery County, a local craft group is helping keep essential workers protected during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
MoCo Makers with Heart has been making and delivering fabric face masks to area nurses, retail employees and factory workers who are on the job during the stay at home order. More than 400 masks have been delivered and orders are coming in from other states. Nurses have also asked for gowns.
“We didn’t think it was going to snowball the way that it has,” said Bunny Sutton, who owns the online craft store Bramble Avenue and began coordinating the effort.
The group includes Sutton and her friends Deana Stewart, owner and operator of Reliable Cleaning, and Mary Everett, who began meeting at the Linden-Carnegie Public Library during the recent wildfires in Australia.
After making pouches and animal beds for the fire victims, the group made crocheted heart key chains for local mental health patients and baby blankets for the Women’s Resource Center.
When a friend with a relative who works at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health reached out in need of masks, Sutton, who doesn’t sew, recruited friends with sewing machines to start making the gear. About 30 volunteers are sewing the washable masks using a pattern approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Amid a shortage of personal protective equipment, CDC officials say homemade masks can be used as a last resort, ideally in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front and sides of the face.
An Evansville hospital system urged the public to sew face masks and posted the medically-approved pattern online. Other local artists have also shared patterns.
Franciscan Health facilities have been taking steps to conserve and obtain masks, gowns and gloves. In a statement posted on its website, Franciscan said it was monitoring the manufacturing and distribution of protective equipment and would take necessary action to maintain enough equipment.
The group has donated masks to Franciscan personnel in Crawfordsville and Lafayette and nurses at children’s hospitals in Indianapolis. Masks have also been shipped to Florida and Ohio and orders were received from Illinois. Standing orders are in place at a half-dozen area hospitals and an emergency response team from Clinton County.
After depleting their fabric supply to assemble the mask kits,
After using their own fabric to assemble the mask kits, the group is seeking material and financial donations. To contribute via PayPal, visit PayPal.me/BunnySutton. Envelopes addressed to Bunny Sutton can also be left in the night deposit boxes at any Hoosier Heartland State Bank branch.