Panhandle communities make homemade masks for healthcare professionals and others amid shortage

Local News

(WMBB) – Volunteers from Washington County and Bay County have stepped up to make homemade masks for healthcare professionals and others after a nationwide shortage of them due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Over 100 volunteers in Washington County are getting mask kits put together with materials donated by local business WestPoint Home. These kits are made up of everything they need to make the mask at home and instructions on how to do it.

“Numerous volunteers come forward to take material to peoples houses,” Washington County Commissioner Tray Hawkins said. “In order for social distancing these masks are being made in peoples homes, completely volunteered. It’s very heartwarming that Washington County is choosing love over fear.”

The masks are then sent off to another local business, Fleener Cleaners, to sanitize and distribute.

Each volunteer is making around 30 masks a day and Hawkins said the area has enough materials to make around 15,000 masks.

“I had no doubt with our community after seeing the outpouring of love and sympathy for each other after Hurricane Michael, that if there is ever a need that could be fulfilled by a constituent of Washington County and one of our members of our community, they are gonna do it,” Hawkins said.

The masks are being distributed all over Washington County and not just to healthcare providers.

“Not only is this going to help out our medical responders, but it will help keep our businesses open. we’re going to pass these out to our grocers, our gas stations and along with other materials, toilet paper, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer,” Hawkins said.

It’s not just Washington County making these masks, one woman in Bay County is leading the way and doing the same.

Gina Cobb saw that many seamstresses on Facebook were trying to make masks, but there wasn’t an organized way to do it.

She made a Facebook group called “Sewing for a Cause Bay/Walton” and in just 10 hours, it took off.

The group has already made over 50 masks, but they need more help.

“The need is there, there might be someone that needs three or four masks or seven or eight masks, so anybody that has a sewing machine, haven’t sewed in a while, dust it off, and get behind that sewing machine and help,” Cobb said.

If you would like to find out how you can help, the Bay County Facebook group is here and the Washington County group is here.

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