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COVID-19 caused a face mask shortage. Treasure Valley sewing enthusiasts are now helping to meet the demand

Groups of volunteers are now sewing masks and donating them to medical professionals.

BOISE, Idaho — Crafty, do-it-yourselfers and sewing enthusiasts in the community are using their time at home to come together and make masks for those in need. This, of course, comes as the country is facing a shortage in masks, which are a necessity for healthcare providers.

Karissa Patterson has teamed up with others in the community to make the masks.

“We're joking about Rosie the Riveter and what a great icon she was and we're joking that Sally the Seamstress will be our icon,” Patterson said. 

She was inspired by a post she saw in another state asking for people to make masks. So, Patterson reached out to local medical professionals and started the Treasure Valley Medical Mask Sewing Facebook group

“Three days later we're at 500 members,” Patterson said. 

The group has members from Garden City to Nampa and has already made 500 masks for medical professionals at different doctor's offices, hospice care facilities and nursing homes.

RELATED: Idaho healthcare workers face respirator shortage

“We are starting to work with a lady at Saint Al's because they are starting to run in short supply and we're trying to come up with the exact prototype of what type of masks will work for them,” Patterson said.

As of Tuesday, a spokesperson for Saint Alphonsus said while the hospital appreciates the outpouring of support from the community, it cannot accept the masks just yet. The hospital is still working out protocol when it comes to donated masks so that they may be used in a clinical setting.

Tosha Jones is also sewing masks for those in need. Alone, she’s made more than 150 masks so far, but she's also working with volunteers, and together she says they've made more than a thousand masks.

“It kind of reminds me back when women started getting involved in work during times of war, like women didn't work in factories before, so it kind of reminds me of that and people banding together and doing what you can in your time of need,” Jones said.

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Each mask takes anywhere from five to 15 minutes to make.

“At a time where you really feel you can’t control much in life,” Patterson said. “This just gave a bunch of people in our valley who really feel like they don't have a lot of control right now something, a purpose.” 

Both groups have had some supplies donated, but they say they could always use more. 

Right now, the Treasure Valley Medical Mask Sewing group is prioritizing masks for medical professionals, but people are welcome to message them with requests and then they'll prioritize those requests based on level of need. 

Anyone interested in sewing masks can join the Facebook group here

As for Jones, you can reach her by phone at 208-571-5800 or on her website here.

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