‘Let’s Get Sewing’: Volunteers Making Masks for Hospitals | CAI

‘Let’s Get Sewing’: Volunteers Making Masks for Hospitals

Mar 24, 2020


Madden Myers, a 5th grader at Nantucket Elementary, irons fabric for hand-sewn surgical masks as part of a local effort to donate masks to Nantucket Cottage Hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.
Credit Erin Myers / Submitted photo

Volunteers on Nantucket and around the region are breaking out the sewing machines to stitch masks for local health care workers.


Friends Allyson Mitchell and Ayesha Barber started a Facebook page called “Nantucket, Let’s Get Sewing.”

Barber said the masks they make will be donated to the local hospital.

“As with any small community, we all kind of jumped at the chance,” she said.


Among the volunteers are her friend’s husband and his mother. He turned his woodworking studio into a sewing room, and they have been making masks.


Another volunteer with advanced sewing skills plans to make medical gowns.


Volunteers are dropping off hand-sewn masks at Nantucket Cottage Hospital, which accepts them at the rear loading dock daily, from noon until 2 p.m. 

“People have been just incredible with the response,” said hospital spokesman Jason Graziadei. “We’re just really grateful to the community.”

He said homemade masks are important for the hospital to fall back on if supplies get low.

Cape Cod Volunteers Answering the Call

A sales associate at Joann Fabric and Craft store in Hyannis cuts squares of fabric for free kits that people are using to sew homemade face masks.
Credit Eve Zuckoff

In the last few days sales associates at Joann Fabric and Craft store in Hyannis have cut over 1,000 squares of fabric in both adult and children sizes. They’re giving away free kits with thread, elastic, and fabric in blues, purples and reds to community members who will sew and donate reusable fabric face masks.

Jessica Brown of East Sandwich said she’s already made 30 masks and wants to sew 20 more because she's worried about her family members who work in the medical field. 

“We feel like we can’t do a whole lot,” she said. “I’m not a nurse. You don’t want me near blood or anything. But it feels like you’re doing one small part of something.” 

Joann Fabric and Craft stores have created a how-to video for others to make masks at home. 

Crazy Quilters of Cape Cod is also sewing masks, and a woman in Marion who makes masks is posting photos to the Facebook group “Marion MA.”

Cape Cod Healthcare accepts donations as well. The health system said in a press release Monday that it prefers medical-grade supplies but will accept hand-sewn masks that are boxed or sealed in plastic.


It has five dropoff locations, including Falmouth Hospital and Hyannis Urgent Care.


Hyannis Business Steps Up

In a much larger scale operation, SencorpWhite, in Hyannis, has contributed to a Rhode Island company’s efforts to produce nearly 3 million N95 masks a week.

SencorpWhite typically makes plastic products like deli containers, but they were able to rapidly modify two of their machines to make an important piece for N95 masks.

Brian Golden, a company vice president, said the machines left Hyannis on Monday and were trucked down to the Ocean State, where they’ll be used in a sanitary production plant. 

“It’s a sense of pride to manufacture something that is so needed right now, especially on our little sandbar here in Cape Cod.”