Sacramento-area volunteers team up to sew cloth masks for hospital workers

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ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — As medical supplies reach critical lows, dozens of local volunteers are sewing fabric masks for hospital workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. 

The group Face Mask Makers With Love is delivering homemade protective gear to local hospitals in hopes of stretching the number of surgical masks and N95 respirators for those who need it most. 

“We want to protect. We want to help as much as we can,” said registered nurse Joslyn Lewis.

Dozens of crafters across the Sacramento region are lending their skills to sew for safety, doing their part to keep hospital workers fighting the novel coronavirus healthy.

“I was concerned about it because I, myself, am a nurse and in my facility, I saw that there was going to be a shortage of supplies up and coming,” Lewis told FOX40. “I am proactive, I’m not reactive. Most entities are reactive and they wait until everything is gone until they do something. We don’t have that kind of time.”

The volunteer group takes donated fabric and stitches together cloth masks made mostly of cotton and elastic that are then distributed to medical workers.

Martinizing Dry Cleaning owner Chheavy Lema offered up her Elk Grove shop and staff to help make the protective gear quickly and efficiently. 

“We can do things in bulk. We can wash them. We have the machines and the pressers to be able to press these masks and make them proper,” Lema explained.

While the cotton masks will not substitute the desperately needed N95 respirators, registered nurse Sothy Shields said the homemade equipment will help free up surgical masks for those treating COVID-19 patients.

“There’s a wide shortage and the cloth masks will at least help alleviate ones that are not in the front lines. That can at least have the protection and the social comfort so that the N95s, the surgical masks can go to the teams that are immediately being in contact with someone the might be suspected of having COVID,” Shields explained.

“At the end of the day, if I myself don’t make it through this pandemic, at least I can say I did my best to try to help,” Lewis said.

So far, the group said it is delivering cloth masks to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, John Muir Health Center and Kaiser Permanente — all free of charge. 

Volunteers are accepting donations of fabric, elastic and money to buy materials. If you would like to contribute to the cause, just click or tap here.

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