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July 5, 2020

4/1/2020 2:04:00 PM
Armed with needle and thread, area sewers take up battle against virus
'Million Mask Mayday'
Ralph Rohrer and Mindy Jester wear masks Mindy stitched for her family. Many sewers in Jennings and across the U.S. are making masks for family and medical professionals to help meet the need for protective gear in medical facilities. —Staff Photo by Barb King
+ click to enlarge
Ralph Rohrer and Mindy Jester wear masks Mindy stitched for her family. Many sewers in Jennings and across the U.S. are making masks for family and medical professionals to help meet the need for protective gear in medical facilities. —Staff Photo by Barb King
Mask directions are easy to follow
These are the directions for the type of masks being accepted at Schneck Medical Center.

Materials Needed

Cotton fabric, a pretty print is best.

Rope Elastic, beading cord elastic will work (you may also us 1/8 inch flat elastic)

Cut the elastic 7 inches long and tie a knot at each end (DO NOT knot the ends of the flat)


You can make two sizes: Adult or Child

1. Put right sides of cotton fabric together. Cut material 9x6 inches (Adult) or 7.5 x 5 inches (Child)

2. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, stop. Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.

3. Sew to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.

4. Now sew across that top of the mask to the next corner. Again put an elastic with the edge out.

5.Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.

6. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5 inches to 2 inches open. Stop, cut the thread. Turn inside out.

7. Pin 3 tucks on each side of the mask. Make sure the tucks are the same direction.

8. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.

It is so easy to make this!

Be sure any fabric design is placed horizontally!

It started in Colorado and has now spread nationwide.

Thousands and thousands of volunteers have since answered the "Million Mask Mayday" call to sew face masks for medical professionals. The SOS, first put out by a physician in Colorado, hopes to help stem the spread of the coronavirus by offering a layer of protection to those working in the health care field or are worried about the threat to their own or family members' health.

Stitchers here in Jennings have been busy, too, especially those at the First United Methodist Church. According to Mindy Jester, the volunteers have transitioned their on-going project of making "chemo caps" into stitching face masks for Schneck Medical Center using a specified pattern. The church, at 240 Poplar Sreet, North Vernon, is accepting donations of these masks during office hours Monday, Wednes-day and Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Instructions for this type of mask are online at www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask or see directions below.

Stitchers are also making a flat, pleated mask with two layers which is easy to make, per this writer's experience. Instructions for this mask can be found at drstreicher.com. The web site also has a link to a video with the doctor showing how she made the mask. In the video, the surgeon credits and thanks her mother for insisting she and her brother learn "a life skill" - how to operate a sewing machine.

There is also information online that does not use a sewing machine. It is simpler protection using a handkerchief/ bandanna and hair tie. Go to blog.japanesecreatons.com.

If you would like to make or donate masks, information below will give you details from four area hospitals.

Ascension St. Vincent Jennings Hospital

Danielle Eagleson is the authorized spokesperson for Ascension St. Vincent Jennings Hospital. The Indianapolis-based public relations person wrote the following in response to an email:

"The system currently has an adequate supply of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). As a national healthcare system, we have the ability to make intra-hospital inventory transfers when appropriate. We are now accepting donations from businesses and members of the community. We appreciate the community's interest and generosity. "Donations may be left with staff members at the hospital main entrance and will then be processed accordingly.

"We are accepting all donations. Our experts will then review and determine what is safe to be used."

Columbus Regional Hospital

Kelsey DeClue, public relations coordinator at Columbus Regional, reports that at this time, the hospital is not accepting homemade masks as only higher-grade medical masks are being used for staff. She notes, "many in our community have made homemade masks and we are so incredibly appreciative. We are currently asking those who are making homemade masks for us to keep them at their homes as they would be used in a reserve situation if our supply of medical masks were to run out."

Columbus Regional is accepting "other donations and acts of support, especially for our frontline employees. Sometimes those have come in the way of food deliveries, discounts at local retailers or restaurants, etc. If you or your organization would like to make a donation, please coordinate with Volunteer Services Director Rebekah Walsh, rwalsh@crh.org."
King's Daughter's Hospital

Nadja Boone, marketing and public relations spokesperson at the Madison facility, reports the hospital currently has a good supply of N-95 masks for staff "on the front line." However, the facility is gratefully accepting homemade masks and distributing them to, for example, physician's offices. Masks are also being put aside for future use because as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, there may come a time when the homemade gear will be drawn upon. "It's nice to have that as an option in case of an emergency," she said.

At least two industries in Madison have donated items to King's Daughter's. The Royer Corporation has developed a face shield and made them available to staff. Another company, Super A TV, donated plastic shields they are now manufacturing as a see-through barrier for those dealing directly with the public.

Tuesday morning, Hardee's brought in breakfast for the hospital's ER staff and other businesses and individuals have brought in pizzas and other food items.

"It's very nice to have the community reaching out," said Boone. Such generosity boosts staff morale and also benefits the donor as everyone wants to be part of the solution. "Task and purpose," she explains. "We are so grateful to everyone who has reached out to us."

Any and all donations should be dropped off at King's Daughter's Hospital Foundation at 600 West Street across from the hospital's former location downtown.

The hospital has set up a hotline number for those with concerns about the corona virus. Call 812-801-8010 for assistance and information.

Schneck Medical Center

Stephanie Flinn of the Schneck Foundation reports her office is the "central collection point" for handmade masks being produced by volunteer sewers. Schneck is only accepting masks using a pattern from Deaconness Hospital in Evansville and approved by Schneck administrators. The pattern can be found at www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask.

To date, over 800 have been donated to the foundation, which Flinn termed "an outpouring of support" for the medical professionals. Six hundred of the masks have been donated to local nursing homes as the hospital's supply of N-95s are adequate for now.

Several in Jackson County have donated their own N-95 masks to the hospital.

The foundation itself, with the help of donors, is demonstrating their support for medical staff by providing "bottomless snack baskets" day and night to every department at the hospital. Tuesday, the foundation treated first responders to food.

Masks can be dropped off at the foundation office at 515 N. Tipton Street, Seymour; call 812-524-4244; or email foundation@schneckmed.org for information.

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