Crafted with Care

Community Helps Protect Caregivers

Photo courtesy of Karen Sweeney

When Susan Isom got an email from Enloe Volunteer Services asking her and other volunteers to help sew cloth masks for Enloe caregivers, she immediately stepped up.

The certified massage therapist volunteers at Enloe’s Infusion Therapy clinic, offering foot massages to patients. Isom learned to sew in a home economics class in high school and uses those skills today, sewing simple items. She doesn’t consider herself a seamstress, but she knew she could handle the mask pattern and was happy to do her part to help protect caregivers during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

“It always feels good to be a part of something greater than yourself,” she said.

So far, Isom has made 100 masks for caregivers — and she’s not alone. More than 200 community members have taken up the call, said Roseanna Galindo, director of Enloe’s Volunteer Services, who is running the project. Some folks are sewing masks. Others are cutting fabric. Others are doing both.

A ‘Heartwarming’ Response


 In times of great challenge, people want to do something to help, and this project provides an outlet for people to help from their homes in a way that is of great value for the health of our community,” said Roseanna Galindo, director of Enloe’s Volunteer Services.

The support has been “heartwarming and astounding,” Galindo said. Initially, caregivers hoped to receive about 5,000 handcrafted masks, but they surpassed that figure quickly.

“In just over one week’s time, we received a little over 3,500 masks and more continue to be made,” she said. “In times of great challenge, people want to do something to help, and this project provides an outlet for people to help from their homes in a way that is of great value for the health of our community.”

As of April 27, Enloe has received more than 6,000 fabric masks. “Our new goal is 10,000,” Galindo said. 

Enloe has enough protective masks right now, and this initiative is a precautionary step in the wake of a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment. People can sign up to make mask by visiting www.enloe.org/masks. Ideally, participants would have access to their own fabric and elastic. But if they don’t, Enloe can provide materials, Galindo said.

The medical center is giving these hand-sewn masks to caregivers who are not involved in direct patient care in accordance with recommendations from regulatory agencies. This will leave more N-95 masks for caregivers involved in patient care. We also want to get cloth masks into the hands of patients and visitors, Galindo said.

Answering the Call


 I believe that people will do whatever they can to help in this crisis,” said Nona Nahalea, an Enloe volunteer. “This was my way of helping and showing my appreciation for the caregivers at Enloe for their service and commitment to our community.”

Nona Nahalea, another Enloe volunteer, is not a needle worker, but she didn’t let that stop her from helping. She, too, quickly responded to the email and offered to cut fabric for masks.

She watched a couple YouTube videos and learned about the rotary cutter and mat she would use to measure and cut precise squares for the project. Then she began working and spreading the word about the initiative.

“I believe that people will do whatever they can to help in this crisis,” Nahalea said. “This was my way of helping and showing my appreciation for the caregivers at Enloe for their service and commitment to our community.”

Want to Participate?

If you would like to help make masks for Enloe caregivers, visit www.enloe.org/masks:

  • Complete the sign-up form on the page.
  • Download the mask instructions.
  • Watch the tutorial video provided.
  • Then start making masks.

Once completed, you can drop off masks or have them picked up. Please note that all masks will be washed before they’re used so, there’s no need to wash them before delivery.

This article was updated on April 27 to note how many masks Enloe has received and the medical center's new goal.

VIEW VIDEOS

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

© 2021 Enloe Medical Center. All Rights Reserved.