Hobbyists turned heroes.
A local sewing group in Ontario took it upon themselves to create thousands of masks for medical personnel on the front lines.
It’s no news to say that many medical companies across the world are scrambling for supplies. Hospitals, medical facilities, and emergency clinics everywhere are struggling to get their hands on masks, gloves, and other necessary resources to keep their workers and patients safe.
While many local governments are likewise scrambling to recover the shortages, many businesses — including tattoo shops, distilleries, and a medical fetish company — have stepped in to produce and donate their supplies.
Many citizens have also answered the call. Lee-Anne Moore-Thibert, a Durham Region native who runs a paralegal firm, started sewing in high school. Since then, she would make things for her daughter like clothes and sleep sacks. When the outbreak began, however, she quickly learned how to make masks.
Initially, she made a few masks for members of her family. These she photographed and uploaded to Facebook. As it happened, she received urgent responses and requests from healthcare workers inquiring about the masks.
In order to manage all the requests, she started a group on Facebook, Durham Region Sews. What started with one, Moore-Thibert, grew to 300 in a day. Now that group is creating masks by the thousands.
They refer to their products as “masks of last resort”. Although the group follows mask patterns from US hospitals, she emphasized that their masks are not fit to substitute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). That said, the masks but do provide a layer of protection for medical workers.
“These masks won’t filter out the virus, but they will add a layer of defence against airborne droplets and particles. We just want to make sure our nurses and frontline workers are protected,” she said in a blog post.
She now has a team to command different facets of the production. At the time of her post, she had 400 people working in the process to fulfill the 2,625 requests that she’d received.
Currently, they are making masks for medical personnel, retirement homes, and foster care centres. They’ve also begun creating scrub caps for doctors upon request.
Since she first started the group, the operations have grown outside Durham Region to Ottawa and Windsor, and soon the rest of Canada. Now, the group re-named Canada Sews has over 1,500 members.
Their Facebook group also includes information on how to make your own masks, whether for yourself, family, or others.
[Featured image courtesy of Canada Sew’s Facebook Group]