TOLEDO, Ohio — As the nation sees a shortage of protective face masks for healthcare workers due to the coronavirus, a local group is responding with their sewing skills.
Dozens of people had signed up to lend a helping hand just hours after the initial call to action.
It's a passion for Lisa Spalding, owner of The Quilt Foundry in Maumee where groups come together to forge friendships through quilting.
"These ladies churn out quilts pretty quickly. I'm pretty sure they can make these little masks," Spalding said.
After seeing a call for handmade masks at a California hospital, one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus, Lisa figured she knew the right people for the job.
"It was pretty crazy. I sent out an email last night to 1,500 ladies and within an hour I had 50 responses. By the time I went to bed, they had 175 people sign up."
Now the group is working with ProMedica Toledo Hospital to make masks for healthcare workers as the hospital anticipates running out.
"I think it says a lot about Toledo. I think it says a lot about our community," said Dr. Brian Kaminski, VP of quality and safety at ProMedica. "We're very lucky and very fortunate to have groups like this that want to pitch in and help."
The hospital will provide the surgical sheet material that meets infection prevention standards for the volunteers to make at home or in small groups at the quilt shop.
Though they aren't the typical N95 masks to prevent transmission of disease, they're approved by the CDC as a last resort when no other face masks are available.
"They're very important. They protect us against illnesses that require droplet precautions and that's exactly what coronavirus is."
The group says other hospitals have reached out and they plan to make as many masks as they can.
Anyone interested in volunteering can fill out the online registration form.