Bainbridge Adult Service Assistant Gail recently took part in University Hospitals’ 100,000 Face Mask Challenge. Read her thoughtful response below: 

You can only do so much reading and cleaning when you are off work indefinitely, so I went online to see if I could volunteer during this Covid-19 crisis.

The University Hospitals website led me to the 100,000 Face Mask Challenge.  The hospitals are encouraging all sewers to participate.  Visitors as well as patients need masks, and this was something I thought I could help with!

One sunny Wednesday I loaded my dog in the car and went for a ride.  We drove to University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center.  I pulled up to the main entrance and a lady was there handing out face mask kits.  I took the kit home and excitedly opened the envelope. 

Fabric, ties, wire, directions…how hard could this be?  I dusted off my sewing machine and got to work.  Maybe I was a little cocky about my abilities, or maybe getting up at 8:00 that morning instead of 10:00 was too early (I’ve been falling into some bad habits since I’ve been home so long) but I just couldn’t get that first mask to come together.  I sewed, I ripped out; I sewed again, I ripped out.  Finally, I put it down and walked away.

Three days later I returned to the material.  I watched through the instructional video on my laptop and then attempted to assemble the mask. This time, it came together without any problem.  I then sewed the other nine masks like an assembly line.  And while watching “Call the Midwife” one evening, I finished them off by putting the ties through the slots.

It only took a couple hours of my time but doing something productive was a boost for my morale during this difficult stretch.  The instructions also requested we include four hand-written thank you notes to be given to the caregivers.  My masks and notes are ready to be taken back to the hospital.

If you can sew a straight line, you can make a mask!  For more information visit https://www.uhhospitals.org/healthcare-update/masks-and-donations#masks

Now, back to my books.  Or vacuum cleaner.

Gail is currently reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova.