Local business owner puts together hundreds of masks for healthcare workers

By  | 

EAST LANSING, MI (WILX) Local healthcare facilities have been seeing shortages of masks amid the pandemic and residents are stepping up with handmade solutions.

"Crafters usually jump in pretty hard when there's some sort of productive thing to be done," Jessy Gregg, Owner of Seams Fabric, East Lansing City Council member said.

Jessy Gregg and her group began taking requests for hand-sewn masks after discovering some local care facilities were working without them.

"My immediate response was like, calm down, let's make sure there's actually a need for this but then almost immediately I started getting messages from hospitals, actually assisted care facilities were the first people who contacted me," Gregg said.

Jessy says since then her group has been making masks for a variety of health professionals and that she's received requests from Lansing Fire Department, Ingham County Health Facility, Sparrow and pharmacies.

Sparrow Health System's spokesperson, John Foren, says they're appreciative of all the donations and they'll have drop off locations set up.

"We've got a lot of really generous requests for donations from the community which we really appreciate. Starting at 10 am on Monday morning, we will accept donations, supplies, at the north entrance of Eastern high school. We need new or unopened items and among them are hand-sewn reusable masks. There are also disposable face masks, Foren said.

Foren says it's always best to have medical masks, like N95s, but right now they're in such short supply, any design will work.

"This is definitely the most common one that people are making. There are more contoured patterns that follow the profile and fit more closely around the nose. They require a lot more skill to craft so we're keeping it simply unless people want to do that and then they're certainly welcome to do so," Gregg said.

Gregg says they aren't buying any more materials right now, but are trying to repurpose what they already have.

She says they're beginning to run out of elastic for the masks but are trying to work around it.

"People are using hair ties now. We had somebody that modified the pattern so that there's a little channel on the side. So instead of a piece of elastic being sewn in in two places its actually like a ring," Gregg said.

She says making cloth ties for the masks is the next best step if they do run out of elastic bands to use.