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Dear Wider Congregation and community,
A few days ago, many heard for the first time that now, we all should wear masks when out in public. (By the way, this was always true but officials decided that this information would further complicate getting PPE to frontline medical staff) So now that everyone is aware, many are making their own. From bandanas to paper towel with rubber bands, Americans are improvising. The best masks are ones that fit the face and have multiple layers including a hepa filter for 1- microns, but any mask is better than none.
Many will be called with unique talents to answer the challenges we face individually, as a church community and as a nation. Do not feel helpless, for you and only you have a skill or talent that will help lift us all up during these times of uncertainty.
If Your Talent is Sewing
I have been making masks for about a week and tried various materials and patterns. You can search the internet for patterns or you may have your own favorite pattern.
This is the one I (Betty) am currently using: https://www.avera.org/app/file
Here is another pattern from McClaren Hospital: https://www.mclaren.org/Uploads/Public/Documents/corporate/washable_face_mask_pattern.pdf
And here are some suggestions from the Center for Disease Control, including two no-sew masks:
If you have better pattern ideas or tips, please share them with the church, so we can pass them on. New patterns are being developed regularly.
I recommend that the ones we make be of good quality and washable with preferably a pocket for hepa filter of some kind. Even coffee filters or folded paper towel will work as filters.
Want to sew and do not have fabric? Use pillow cases or bed sheets, the higher the thread count, the better, 600 and up.
No elastic? Use tee shirts, the ones that occupy your drawer and haven’t been worn in a year or two. Cut the hem off and then one inch strips. Pull and the fabric rolls and does not fray. I use them for tie mask instead of hair ties. That makes them adjustable to fit faces. I cut up a soft white bed sheet for the mouth piece. There are lots of youtube videos on making homemade masks, even with paper towels.
What do I do with completed masks or extra supplies?
The church is setting up a stand alone, blessing box style cabinet outside our Park ave. office door entrance. Our mailing address is 101 State St. Anyone can leave completed masks or additional supplies to make masks.
Our hope is that we can get masks first to people serving essential roles in the community, but don’t have access to PPE, like grocery store employees and delivery people. If you are going out for essential supplies, you can also take a stash of masks to give away at the stores you are going to. If you work at one of these places, please take as many masks as you and your colleagues need. We aren’t trying to be gatekeepers, just giving people a central place to collect and distribute face masks.
We encourage anyone that needs a mask to pick one up as well.
Want to help but do not sew?
The non sewers can also contribute. You can pick up completed masks from people not leaving their houses and dropping off supplies if needed. (Sewers and non sewers, email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help). You can also recruit sewers and identify sources of masks and material. Also, identify places where people are in greater need of masks and bring them there, including stocking other blessing boxes in the community.
We hope that this becomes a community-wide effort, whether they use our blessing box distribution or not. This virus will be around and spreading until a vaccine can be created and widely distributed. So, until then everyone will need a mask.
I’m heading to may sewing machine to get back at it. I hope you’ll join me.
Take care, Betty Wadland, RN.