One of the ways I decided to keep from feeling completely helpless during this pandemic has been making homemade masks for friends, family, coworkers, retired coworkers since the lockdown first began. I've had a steady stream of people coming to pick them up, or I mailed them out. For a while, they were all gone as fast as I could make them.
I've never taken a sewing lesson and don't sew that well, but well enough to put together the masks, and eventually I started to get a little bit quicker and got ahead of the demand, so I decided to look around for somewhere to donate the extra masks I made, which is when I found the National #MasksNow Coalition on Facebook.
The group also has a website -- https://masksnow.org/ -- with a ton of useful information on everything from mask and cap patterns, video links, information on how to donate and other ways to get involved.
The coalition also has local Facebook groups and organizers for most states, and I joined the Facebook group for my state as well as the national group.
#MasksNow is a grassroots organization with over 11,000 volunteers nationwide in every state, and they work to put together people who are willing to sew masks, people or organizations and businesses that are willing to donate supplies, and organizations that need masks, such as "patients, healthcare workers, at-risk community members, and essential workers, including postal workers, grocery store workers, manufacturing personnel, and more."
The masks I've donated through the group have gone to assisted living facilities, day care centers, grocery store workers and Operation Backpack, and the request for masks has increased, not decreased since I started.
If anyone is aware of other groups doing similar work, please feel free to share the information in the comments section.
Here are a few of the masks I've made. My tie dying skills are better than my sewing skills.
Our own Karoli has been making masks as well. Here are some samples of her lovely work.
For anyone else that's sewing masks, please share your work as well in the comments section and let us know who you've been making them for. We'd love to see them.
It's more important than ever that people wear them as states open things back up. Tragically, persuading people that there's a need to cover up to protect each other has been made infinitely harder by the complete and total lack of national leadership and a propaganda network helping Trump and his allies to minimize the need for masks and pretending the pandemic is over.
The pandemic and the need for masks is far from over, and the PPE shortages continue. It's nice to see people banding together to do what they can to help fill the gap, and to be able to be a part of that.