A week ago, the Dayton Sewing Collaborative was cancelling events and closing the doors to its studio space because of the coronavirus pandemic. That changed on Friday when the group launched a brand-new project producing face masks for the community.
More than 30 Dayton sewists are currently putting together colorful face masks at their homes.
Director Brenda Rex says these masks are not medical grade, like the N95 respirators used by medical professionals. But she says they can provide some level of protection for those who still need to interact with the public, including workers at assisted living facilities or drug treatment centers.
“What I found is that there's a lot of people desperate for face masks,” she said. “We came to the conclusion that any type of protective mask is better than nothing at all.”
There is some evidence that homemade masks can provide some protection in an influenza pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear face masks when they are sick with COVID-19 or think they might have it.
Rex says sewing face masks is one way for community members to get involved in a time when people feel helpless.
“I think people want to help, and it's something they can do at home,” she said. “They don't have to go out in public and expose themselves to the virus. I think it's just a perfect use of home skills.”
The organization has already received over 1,200 requests for masks. Resilience Dayton is contributing to the project by collecting requests through an online form, as well as sanitizing and distributing the masks.
To get involved with the project, go to the Dayton Sewing Collaborative’s Facebook page or email DaytonSewing@gmail.com.