Many healthcare workers are in desperate need for special protective masks as they work on the dangerous front lines of the coronavirus.
Stepping up to fill a vital need, a group of local women are making their own masks for first responders.
Summer Berg, a professional seamstress, is busy at work inside her Temecula home.
“Sewing is my life,” Berg says. “My grandmother was a seamstress and she taught me how to sew.”
Usually, Berg is sewing clothing, but lately, she’s been doing it with a different purpose.
“Right now, I’m sewing masks to donate to our local hospital and any healthcare workers that are without the masks that they need.”
Berg saw a post on social media that there was a desperate need for N-95 masks, the ones healthcare workers use for airborne protection from the coronavirus. So, while summer is sewing, her neighbor Christine Massa is cutting.
“She just gives me instructions and I just follow them,” Massa says.
She adds, “This is one way that we can contribute. I’m not on the front lines fighting disease, but this is a small contribution that I can do.”
Just a few blocks away, Heather Pierson is handing out supplies donated by Joann Fabrics. Pierson is a local nurse and her family has a healthcare background.
“My sister works at another hospital and was telling me that she’s been using a bandanna,” Pierson said. “And then, I started getting phone calls from nurses at work terrified to go.”
Pierson continued, “They’re being asked to reuse masks, and some of them have medically fragile people at home.”
So, Pierson started a GoFundMe to help raise money for more protective N-95 masks.
Meanwhile, Berg continues to sew temporary masks, earning her the affectionate name of “Summer the Sewer” from Pierson.
“Because, you know, in World War I, we had Rosie the Riveter, and I just love that ‘can do’ attitude,” Pierson said. “It’s an optimistic approach of not what we can’t do but what we can do.”
After getting the hand sewn masks, Pierson inserts material that can act as a filter.
“It’s kind of tacky, but it’ll do for now,” she said.
As long as there is a need, Berg says she will keep sewing for the first responders who are sacrificing everything for all of us.
“I mean there nothing else you can say but thank you it’s an amazing sacrifice,” Summer the Sewer said.
Pierson says there is also a need for 3D printers, which can help make N-95 masks.
If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe, you may do so here. Please note that GoFundMe takes a percentage of all fees raised in the form of platform and other fees.