Contributed by Class of 2021 Emma Markland
At the beginning of the recommendation to “stay-at-home,” social media and the news were flooded with stories of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) becoming less and less available. So… I started making cloth masks to send to doctors’ offices, individual nurses, families, and anyone that may have needed one.
As the need for masks grew, I thought of patients, families/adults/kids with low immune systems that needed these masks to protect them from possible exposure to COVID-19. Masks could not be purchased anywhere, the demand was too high. I started my “mask project” immediately.
As soon as I started, I began hearing more stories about medical personnel who didn’t have the proper equipment, and stories about nurses having to limit their use of masks, or reusing masks throughout their shift. My mom and I posted about our project and quickly gathered a list of who we could send them to.
Using word of mouth and https://www.mask-match.com/, we were able to send our homemade masks to others. My first batch was sent to a local family practice in Cumming, GA. My next batch was sent to a family practice in Florida. Friends began asking for them as well.
I used to sew all the time when I was younger and what a great time to pick it back up! I had saved a lot of scrap fabric that was perfect for what we needed. Finding elastic for the masks was the only issue I had – it was sold out online everywhere! After searching the house for things to use, we came up with some alternatives – old headbands, hair bands, and loom loops.
I made a few prototypes and discovered what worked best. I began cutting, sewing, and shipping. It got easier and easier to make with each round. We have sent over 35 masks to doctors’ offices, nurses, family, and friends.