/Volunteers donate more than 1200 masks
Donations flooded in for SIRCH Community Services’ Sewing for a Great Cause initiative. More than 1200 homemade masks were sewn. /Photo supplied

Volunteers donate more than 1200 masks

By Sue Tiffin

Busy hands and compassionate community members are helping to bring more than 1200 homemade fabric masks to faces through SIRCH Community Services’ Sewing for a Great Cause initiative.

“The sewers in this community are amazing” said Gena Robertson SIRCH executive director.

The masks were collected to help as a viable option if supplies became exhausted at local health-care agencies and for the public including cashiers delivery people tenants in social housing people in food services and caregivers.

Masks were assessed by Sue Robinson former nurse practitioner for wearability who divided masks into those appropriate for front line health-care workers and masks for the public.

“A few had broken elastics or rips but to date we have given out 1090 masks to 12 different organizations and a number of community members” said Robertson who said there were more in stock to be sanitized and redistributed. Robertson thanked Lisa Tompkins and Haliburton Highlands Health Services for their help in sanitizing the masks which were individually packaged before being distributed.

Kayla Bird at Extendicare said although staff cannot wear homemade masks in the long-term care facility as only medical-grade masks are approved within the residence staff are able to make use of about 70 masks donated through the SIRCH efforts outside of the facility for example while shopping.

Local hospitals also received masks from the public.

“Through the generosity of many members of the community the HHHS Foundation has received over 800 masks for HHHS through direct donations and our partnership with SIRCH in the ‘Sewing for a Great Cause’ initiative taking a community approach to receiving and distributing hand-sewn cloth masks” said Stephanie MacLaren VP community programs HHHS. “The masks have been used at Haliburton and Minden emergency department provided to patients who pass the COVID-19 screening tool.”

“It’s been such a great community effort” said Robertson.

As the paper went to press on July 7 the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit had made mandatory the use of masks inside businesses beginning July 13. This month numerous communities throughout Ontario have been announcing that masks must be worn when inside public spaces.

For more information on the Sewing for a Great Cause initiative visit https://www.sirch.on.ca/2020/04/can-you-sew-sewing-for-a-great-cause/