Four women who work at a Massachusetts dry cleaning business have made over 200 masks in less than 24 hours to donate to a local hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The women who work at JC Fast Tailors and Dry Cleaners in Abington have been working around the clock since Friday making masks to donate to South Shore Hospital. They say in a time where they don't have much control of anything, why not jump in and help?
Owner Carmen Alanya sews, while her mother Josephina cuts and her daughter Stephanie secures the straps. Eighty-seven-year-old employee June Jackson, who is the mastermind behind the idea, tests each mask afters it's stitched to make sure it fits properly.
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"I have a granddaughter that works at South Shore Hospital and she called me and asked if I could make face masks and I immediately said, 'no but I know someone who can,'" recalled Jackson.
"When she came with this idea actually it wake me up and keep going and had the energy to do something," Alanya said.
All donated and leftover material they've collected is washed before it's used and then washed again after the mask is completed.
"A lot of people are making them but there will never too many," Jackson said.
The masks are not approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in settings where facemasks are not available, healthcare personnel (HCP) "might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face."
The women still hope their product can be used for hospital support staff and it's still a huge help at a time when Governor Charlie Baker has admitted the state is in a crunch for supplies.
"We said for several days now that we need more gear. Across the board," Gov. Baker said.
Even though the company's sales have declined as big wedding events and proms have been cancelled, they are busier than ever in hopes they can help protect their community.
"We just feel like we are doing something that will help," Jackson said.
There is a big drop box right out front of the Abington business for anyone wishing to help them help others by donating material. The women will be selling the masks for $5 to individuals who are not in the medical field but still want one.