HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — If you’re looking for a way to support healthcare workers, consider joining a “mask force.”
These volunteer groups are bringing the community together to provide protective equipment to front line workers who are desperately in need.
“We want to put a mask on every face that needs one,” says CJ Robison.
A former nurse herself, CJ Robison founded the COVID 19 Sewing Taskforcein Hampton Roads last Thursday, and the group has taken off.
“It was absolutely killing me to know that my friends were at the front line and I was at home, and I wanted to do anything I could to help,” says Robison.
Her simple goal has brought the community together to help healthcare workers experiencing a widespread PPE shortage.
“Yesterday we had over 500 masks turned in in a single day. It was absolutely phenomenal,” says Robison.
Affectionately known as the “mask force,” around 700 volunteers have started making masks for around 20 different groups in need.
The masks are turned over to healthcare and front line workers who are gladly accepting them by the bagful.
“When we hand a mask to somebody, what we’re really saying is that we are with them and that their community is in this fight with them,” says Robison.
Even with so many people on board, the greatest need is still sewers, but volunteers are needed at every stage of the process.
“We have a job for absolutely anyone who wants one, so if you can’t sew, you can cut the fabric. If you don’t want to do either of that, we need people to help move supplies around, get supplies,” says Robison.
Volunteers pick up materials at one of their distribution locations across Hampton Roads and return the finished masks within three days. The materials come in sew kits that make 10 masks per kit.
Robinson says they’ve made 1,500 masks in a little over a week, but the need is in the tens of thousands.
“It is incumbent on us the community that we join with them because it’s only through this united front that were really going to defeat COVID,” says Robison.
Visit their website to learn more about how to get involved.