Brenda Rex took a call Monday morning from a nearly sobbing woman who works with a local nursing home.
The woman was screaming, but Rex says her emotions were out of frustration and not anger.
“It was more of a plea,” Rex said. “It was more like, ‘Do something.’”
>> Coronavirus: 6 deaths, 442 cases reported in Ohio
Since Friday, Rex and about three dozen Dayton Sewing Collaborative volunteers in homes around the community have been pumping out reusable face masks for local organizations that need them, as worries mount that there is not enough to sustain the nation during the coronavirus crisis.
Around the nation, some hospitals have run so short of the masks and other personal protection equipment that they've had to ration them, according to the Associated Press. In some places, doctors and nurses have been given just one per shift, forcing them to wash them out between patients.
Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration on March 15 asked dentists, veterinarians and other health care providers to postpone elective surgeries in an effort to preserve the number of available masks and personal protective equipment.
Rex, the Dayton Sewing Collaborative’s director, has received requests for about 1,200 face masks from a list of organizations that includes nursing homes, doctor’s offices and drug treatment centers.
A few hundred masks have already been made, and Rex expects more requests to come in as the crisis deepens.
“We are full-steam ahead making masks,” Rex said. “It kind of runs the gamut of who is asking for these.”
Housed in the Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley, 660 S. Main St. in Dayton, the collaborative is a nonprofit that provides equipment, supports infrastructure and provides studio space for sewing and textile related businesses.
The Dayton Sewing Collaborative masks will be sanitized with steam before they are distributed free of charge to organizations in need.
Volunteers are using kits assembled by the collaborative or their own supplies to make the masks, which are based on a design from the Turban Project, a nonprofit that has donated more than 45,000 turbans, courage caps, beanies, crochet/knit hats, scarves, and reusable medical face masks to cancer patients since 2012.
The masks are not rated for disease control.
“We are trying to do what we can with what we have,” Rex said. “What we really need now is cotton (fabric).”
The collaborative is seeks additional volunteers, as well as monetary donations and materials: cotton flannel, the biggest need; 100 percent woven cotton material and 1/8” flat elastic.
Dayton Sewing Collaborative volunteer Tursia Turner, a retiree, said she saw first-hand how much medical personnel care for their patients when she was treated recently at Kettering Medical Center.
Those who help others deserve to be helped, she said.
“That’s what it is all about, just everyone being protected,” she said.
Donations are being requested through the collaborative’s PayPal.com accounts. For more details, send an email to DaytonSewing@gmail.com.
The form to request free masks can be found here.
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