GREENSBORO, N.C. — The CDC is recommending we wear cloth face coverings when we go out in busy public places. That has increased the demand for face masks. The experts are warning to leave the surgical N-95 masks for health workers on the frontlines of the health crisis. Instead, they are urging folks to opt for homemade face masks and several people around the Triad have come together to make masks to help others.
Davidson County teen stays up late into the night making face masks
One of such people helping with the fight against coronavirus by making masks is a 14-year-old middle school student in Davidson County.
"This is the elastic right here and we sew all along the edges so that it stays together," said Taylor Hawley as she demonstrated how to make a mask.
Taylor, an 8th grader, has been forced into home school after public schools shut down last month. But after her studies and basketball practice with her father, she trades in her book bag and basketball for a sewing machine.
"I really didn't think that I was going to be making a bunch of masks and it just blew up, so my mom and my dad help me a lot and sometimes I have someone that helps me sew them," she said. Taylor is making the masks and giving them away for free, but is accepting donations.
"Taylor decided to start making the masks last week for donations only and will be donating all money to Psalm 91 Church in Lexington," said mom Leslie Hawley in an email to WFMY News 2.
Taylor chose the church because when she was younger, she needed a place to practice and play and Psalm 91 opened up their doors to let her use their gym, according to her mom.
"She is donating the money to them to pay them back for letting her use their gym over the years," she said.
Taylor has made around 200 face masks so far and will continue to make them as long as they are needed.
"We have over 100 to make for pending requests from Facebook and the orders keep coming in. We are getting requests from people all over the county and even out of state in Florida, New York, South Carolina, and Alabama," added Hawley.
The teen has made 40 masks for the Davidson County probation officers and has an order for 50 masks from the Alston Brook nursing home. She also has another order for 30 masks for a medical facility in Florida. She is also making some masks for the Davidson County Hospice House and mailed out 19 packages early this week.
Taylor often stays up late some times till midnight on the weekends to sew the masks.
"Some are going to hospitals, we actually had an order to go to probation officers and then hospice houses and nursing homes. It means a lot that I'm helping and it makes me feel good as a person because I know that I'm helping people," added Taylor.
Social media mask-sewing groups
Several groups on social media platforms like Facebook have helped to galvanize a network of 'crafty-hands' to help make masks. The groups are looking for seamstresses, volunteers with sewing machines or who can cut fabric, donate sewing materials or deliver items and finished masks where needed.
"People that are going back to work, gas station people, delivery people, they don't have anything or access to anything because they are not medical workers. They don't have masks and yet they're interacting with lots and lots of people," said Kathleen Mezgar to administrator and organizer of Masks For Greensboro.
The recently started Facebook group now has 58 members who make up the team of volunteers so far.
"It's been really successful, so far we've made 150 masks and I know that's a small amount but we are using the fabric that we have in our homes and we haven't bought anything yet," said Mezgar who is asking for donations of fabric and other materials like elastic and ribbons.
"Right now what we're finding is a shortage of elastic, so we've been using ribbon and fabric ties," she added.
The masks come with pockets for filters so frontline workers and health professionals can stretch their limited supply of N-95 masks by wearing them underneath.
'4000 masks by 400 faithful sewists', Project Mask Winston Salem off to a good start.
A team made of up residents in Forsyth County has been making masks for local hospitals.
The mask, made with two layers of fabric and elastic straps, has been approved for use in situations where an n-95 mask is not required.
"We have been in touch with supply chain folks at both hospitals here. Both WFBMC and Novant have requested our masks. As such, we are following the pattern they have recommended," read the Project Mask Winston Salem page on Frequently Asked Questions.
"In a time of social distancing, I have never felt so connected with my community. I am hearing from old friends, new friends, and strangers who are all asking how they can help," said Melissa Vickers, project organizer."