ELY – A group of dedicated people who call themselves “Masks for Ely” have been sewing relentlessly this spring, producing protective face masks in response to the coronavirus …
ELY – A group of dedicated people who call themselves “Masks for Ely” have been sewing relentlessly this spring, producing protective face masks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“As a community, we should all be grateful for the time, donations of materials, and skill they give up to do this for our community,” said Paula Mair, one of the group’s organizers. “We need to take care of this wonderful and giving resource we have at our disposal. I am sure we are all getting a little tired of sewing masks, yet the demand remains. This is a marathon and not a sprint.”
The grassroots group was created in April to try to connect people living in the Ely area and needing a COVID-19 face mask with people in the community who are willing and able to make them. Masks for Ely has garnered nearly 200 followers on Facebook.
“This group is for homemade masks only. Let’s leave the commercial medical masks for our first line responders who need them,” Mair said.
Those in need of a mask can post a request on the Masks for Ely Facebook site and anyone who has masks or is willing to make them can comment to that person seeking masks.
“If you know people needing or willing to sew masks, please let them know about this group. Let’s make sure everyone in Ely has access to a mask now that the CDC has advised us to wear them when doing essential errands, etc.,” Mair said.
For those individuals, businesses and organizations in the Ely area who would like to request masks, please include the number of employees/volunteers your business has as well as a time table for when you feel you need them.
“Please do not go into a business expecting them to have extra masks for you to take,” she said. “It has come to our attention that many are treating these masks basically as disposable.”
According to Mair, each mask takes about 20 minutes to make and requires fabric, thread, elastic and electricity, and puts wear and tear on sewing machines.
“Please value this gift we are giving and, if you take a mask, use it. Take it home, wash it and put it where you can find it for the next time you need one,” she said. “We ask that you do not take masks just because they are there and convenient, or because you like the pattern. They may not look like much but a lot goes into them.”
It is not a business’s responsibility to provide customers with a mask.
“We are all trying to keep each other safe and healthy. Please bring a mask and wear it out of respect for the business. It’s going to be a part of our lives for bit of time yet,” she said.
Mair suggested that if someone is looking for a certain print for a mask, to consider finding and donating the fabric and making a request.
“We are all getting down to the bare bones and we don’t have a lot of choices left of fabric colors or designs,” she said.
“We are all in this together. Please help our mask makers through this marathon by doing your part,” she said. “Wash and reuse. Try to discipline yourself to carry a mask with you instead of taking a new one every time you enter a store. If we want the privilege of these mask donations we need to be considerate of the makers. We all had busy lives before this started, and we have gladly accepted another big job by sewing masks and our families have supported this. But it’s getting long and tiring and we all have summer chores and recreation we want to be able to participate in as well. And we deserve to have some down time by this point in the race. Please help us with this.”