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Sew helpful: Church groups crank out homemade face masks for medical providers

South Boston News
Face masks sewn by Barbara Estes / March 26, 2020

With hospitals, medical providers and first responders facing widespread shortages of personal protective equipment due the Coronavirus pandemic, Halifax County residents and church groups are doing what they can to help by donating hand-sewn face marks.

While the homemade coverings do not provide the level of protection of surgical masks, they do help to shield caregivers from droplets that may be expelled by a cough or sneeze from sickened patients. In many locations around the U.S., medical providers and first responders have jumped at the chance to secure locally made masks, figuring they are better than nothing.

Several Halifax County churches have stepped up. South Boston Church of God, Grace Baptist Church and Scottsburg Baptist Church have formed sewing groups that are making face masks the old-style way — one at a time.

“This is the least we can do to support our first responders,” said Barbara Estes, who is leading a group of sewing volunteers at South Boston Church of God.

Estes has enough supplies to make 50 face masks which will be delivered to the hospital.

“I will need more elastic,” said Estes, adding she had bought all she could find in town and will be hunting online tonight to purchase more supplies.

The elastic needs to be at least 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch wide to provide a tight fit for the providers who wear them. Ten masks can be made from a yard of material. Anyone who would like to donate elastic or cloth may place the items on the bench in the portico of the South Boston Church of God.

The first batch of 20 face masks were made by Wendy Hall, a member of Grace Baptist Church. These were delivered to Sentara Halifax Regional Hospice employees.

“I’m not a seamstress so they aren’t perfect, but they are made with love,” said Hall, who said the volunteer work seems like a much better use of her time and resources than complaining about who is responsible for the shortages of PPE supplies.

For more information to volunteer or donate supplies contact:

Estes with South Boston Church of God, 434-470-0456.

Both Hall with Grace Baptist Church and Jane Pool Watts with Scottsburg Baptist Church may be contacted on Facebook.

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