I learned that Boulder County Health was looking for masks and I was impressed by how organized they were. They had laid out specs on how they wanted them constructed (prefered fabrics) along with drop off information.
After I had made my first 18, I took off for the Boulder JoAnn store which was a drop off location for this grassroots effort. I chose to go there since I also learned they were helping out in providing free materials to those who were sewing masks. Perfect! Because, I was ready to keep making more, but I was totally out of elastic, and I was having difficulty finding any online.
I did score on the elastic....I also bought more cotton for the inside panel....but I was sorely disappointed in their approach to providing materials. They had "kits" available with materials for six masks! I had driven 24 miles one way, so when I asked if I could have another kit, they said "sorry I can only give you 1". I'm sorry. But that's absurd, this wasn't a craft project, where every participant gets just one.....I (along with every other seamstress) was participating because I wanted to serve the community. I accepted my one kit and headed home.
Once I had another 20+ masks sewn, I decided to look up hospitals closer to me that might be accepting donations.....what I learned was the vast majority of Colorado hospitals were not accepting homemade masks due to the new CDC guidelines. What????!!! I realize this situation was fluid, and I definitely want our frontline healthcare workers to be safe, but I also felt that maybe there were other uses for these. This new approach had happened in just a matter of a couple of days. In fact, Boulder County Health was now only using these "as a last resort". Frankly, I didn't want to continue using my time and energy if they weren't going to be used, or placed in some storeroom never to be seen again. I had even begun making a few of the surgical type masks which allows for a filter to be added and includes wire at the nosebridge for additional safety measures.
I posted my frustration on FB.....and I was pleasantly surprised to find there were individuals who absolutely wanted masks. I've since sent some to New Jersey and Florida assisted living caregivers who were desperate for masks and several Texas pharmacists. I'm so pleased these can help those front line workers. I've also provided some locally to essential employees who work in grocery stores.....another group of people who I so appreciate in this difficult time. I've made over 50 now, and have a few more cut out which pretty much depletes my supplies. As of last night's news however, the CDC may be suggesting that the general public should be wearing masks when we're out and about and the homemade variety would work fine in those situations. We'll see how this continues to evolve. For now, I'm just happy to have been able to provide some assistance to those very important individuals who are in the thick of this thing day in and day out!
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