SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – As resources like N95 masks disappear, the need for them becomes even greater. Healthcare workers say it’s an issue not going anywhere any time soon.
Nurses have been raising awareness and asking for help, and the community is listening.
“Partly it’s a selfish reason, right?” said Andy Smith. “My wife is a nurse.”
Smith wants nothing but to protect her as she battles the coronavirus crisis. Because of this, he’s taken on a new hobby.
“Literally before Tuesday, I’d never used a sewing machine,” Smith said.
With each stitch, he’s trying to stop the shortage of masks for nurses nationwide the best he can.
“This is one of those situations where I think we’re all really helpless,” said Smith.
He’s not alone. Hundreds of others are doing it too and others are taking notice. Several Facebook groups have appeared with home sewers asking how they can help.
It’s a cause the folks at Meissner’s Sewing wants to get behind too.
“It’s just something that’s part of our nature to want to help and give back,” said Jennifer Gigas, manager of the Folsom location.
Jim Meissner and Gigas still have so many questions on how to do it right.
“Are these the right materials we should be making these masks out of?” Meissner asked.
They’re doing their research and trying to find out what fabric is best.
“We know that a cotton weight fabric is probably not ideal for any kind of true protection,” said Gigas.
They’ve reached out to the CDC and the State of California for guidance, even asking for fabric supplies to make it happen. The duo said if they could be provided with the right materials, they know plenty of people who are ready to work.
“We’ve got 25,000 plus sewers in Sacramento that have sewing machines at home,” said Meissner.
Still, hundreds of others like Smith are doing just that and say anything makes a difference.
“It’s not going to duplicate an N95 mask, but it’s better than nothing, said Smith. “There’s a real possibility that in the coming days some workers will have nothing.”
Many local hospitals are telling these home sewers that they can’t accept these masks they’ve made. A majority of donations have had to go directly to nurses, who tell CBS13 they can then bring them to work.