A Hancock County-area group is working to use its sewing skills to mass-produce homemade surgical masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m on bended knee here, trying to get people to help,” Rhonda Aime Gamble — founder of the Facebook group Mask Response — said Tuesday.
Currently, the group has 48 members, but if you can sew, you’re welcome to join.
“I’m making masks for (King’s Kitchen) right now,” Gamble said. “I took care of the food pantry this morning — we supplied them with masks and we’ve been doing masks for Dunbar Village. At the nursing home, we’ve been trying to take care of staff first, and then make enough so the staff can provide masks to the residents.
“We’re trying to cover it all, but we can’t make them fast enough. We need anyone who can sew. They don’t need a lot, just some scrap materials. They need elastic and some twist ties.
“Elastic is very difficult to find right now because everybody is making them, so we improvised and bought some elastic head bands from Dollar Tree and Walmart. I ordered a 300-yard roll, but it hasn’t arrived yet.”
Gamble asked that anyone interested in helping join the Facebook group, “so that way we can coordinate through there. We have instructions on there on how to make them. We have instructional videos, and we’re doing another one … to try to help make it a little easier for them.”
Currently, the group has 48 members, but is looking to grow.
“Everybody’s wanting them,” Gamble said. “I’ve had a couple of other ladies helping, but they work and their time is limited.”
Gamble said the masks are free to those who need them.
“We’re not charging anybody for these masks,” she said. “These masks are free, and we’re giving them out to people who deal with the public first. We’re trying to prioritize who gets them. If they need masks, they can send a private message to Mask Response, but if they sew and they’re willing to help make them, then they need to actually join Mask Response. We’re trying to keep that page only for the people who are actually manufacturing.”