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Local volunteers make face masks for health care workers as pandemic grows

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When a few Doylestown women decided to take the severe shortage of protective masks for health-care workers into their own hands, they didn’t know they’d be starting a movement.

Now Doylestown Hospital is accepting the homemade masks.

Over the past week, the Community Mask Initiative and Mask Makers of Doylestown have joined forces to produce hundreds of handmade masks for delivery to area hospitals, nursing homes, pediatric care units and other health-care facilities, said Kim Denicore, who got the ball rolling with Mask Makers.

The masks are being made based on a pattern from Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Ind., that primarily uses 100 percent cotton material. Vacuum cleaner bags can also be used, noted those working on the project.

“People have been so nice, so supportive,” said Denicore. “It’s just kind of exploded.” On Tuesday, she said, a safety-conscious collection effort was underway to gather the masks made by area women and children.

The groups linked missions on the Doylestown Neighbors United Facebook page, where Linda Deeter had shared concern about the mask shortage late last week.

“Everybody’s scared and health-care workers are on the front line,” said Deeter, “I thought, how can we help? We’re all sitting in our homes with nothing to do, let’s do something meaningful and let (health-care workers) know we care about them.”

Calling the outpouring of support, “wonderful,” Deeter said, requests have come in from a wide variety of area hospitals, retirement communities and others. Mask Makers has been “flooded with requests,” said Denicore, not only from health-care facilities but also from grocery store workers and “sober houses” that work with those in recovery from substance abuse.

In an earlier statement, Jim Brexler, president and CEO of Doylestown Health, said, “We have received hundreds of offers for assistance from individuals, organizations, businesses and dental offices to support our work in a rapidly evolving situation. The response is extremely gratifying to our staff on the front lines and those supporting them. Health care is a team effort, and now more than ever the community and donors are a critical member of the team.”

Denicore and Deeter said the mask-making will continue as long it’s needed.


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