Volunteers sought to sew facial masks


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Viera resident Stephanie Byrd is sewing face masks for area healthcare workers in response to a shortage. She is sewing them from home at night on a volunteer basis to help during the crisis.

A disaster relief group called Sew You Care is looking for volunteers to help make fabric face masks for health care professionals during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Jessy Gillespie of Bossier City, Louisiana, the founder of the organization, she is seeking volunteers to make the masks because of the shortage at hospitals and other health-care facilities. So far, she has about 325 volunteers making the masks.

“We are being contacted directly by hospitals, doctors and nurses to make these masks,” she said. 

Gillespie, who has worked on several disaster relief projects in the past, said anyone interested in volunteering is asked to go to the organization’s website — sewyoucare.com.

Once you go to the website, volunteers are then directed to the group’s Facebook page to fill out a form.

As of March 23, Gillespie said volunteers have made more than 3,000 masks. Once completed, the masks are mailed to needy hospitals, doctors and nurses, as well as the elderly and children.

“We are not recommending volunteers drop off the masks at hospitals,” she said.

According to Universal Medical’s website, wearing a face mask will help prevent the spread of infection and prevent the individual from contracting any airborne infectious germs. When someone coughs, talks or sneezes, they could release germs into the air that might infect others nearby. Face masks are part of an infection control strategy to eliminate cross-contamination.

Before wearing a face mask, Always wash your hands with soap and water before touching the face mask.

  • Remove the mask from the dispenser or box and make sure the masks do not have any holes or tears.
  • Make sure you determine which side is the top and which is the front of the mask, so you can properly wear the mask.
  • For face masks with ear loops, hold by the ear loops and put the loops around each ear.
  • For face masks with ties, bring the mask to your nose and place the ties over your head to secure with a tie.
  • For face masks with bands, hold the mask to your nose and pull the top strap over the crown of your head and pull the bottom strap over your head so it is at the nape of your neck.
  • Pull the mask over your mouth and chin.