Locals sewing cloth masks for area healthcare providers

Cotton masks of various fabrics created by Amanda Hernandez. Hernandez has already dropped of some masks at Health Ministries. Locals are beginning to produce home made masks should protective equipment run short during the Covid-19 outbreak.

By Adam Strunk
If you have a sewing machine and some free time -most of us do at this point – you could be doing your part to keep our community and its health care providers safe.
Locally Keather Hansen of Hesston, and others are leading the charge to sew home made surgical masks to help area hospitals offset possible shortages of the essential protective equipment.

“I saw lots of articles going around about shortages and that hospitals were asking people to make them,” she said. “So I just decided to call the local hospitals to see if they needed them.”

She’s reached out to local hospitals and said both Wesley and Newton Medical Center will take home made masks as long as they’re made to specific guidelines (here’s instructions),  Masks are made from 6 inch by 9 inch 100 percent cotton fabric, and also takes a seven inch piece of elastic. Instructions state that it takes about 20 minutes to make a mask. (Here’s a video on how to do it).

“They don’t need them at this exact moment but said it’s likely they will in the future,” she said of medical facilities. The masks will serve as an alternative should supplies run out in a large-scale event.

She put out the call on social media and was greeted with numerous eager responses.

Amanda Hernandez, who runs Mandy’s Custom Creationz, an apparel, embroidery and party favor business in Newton, said she’s already donated a batch to former co-workers at Health Ministries after hearing of the need.
“It’s just so crazy right now,” she stated. “Never would I ever of thought this would be happening in the the USA.”

Nationwide seamstresses, sewers, and DIY enthusiasts have begun to construct the cloth mask to help deal with the national shortage of protective medical supplies caused by the worldwide Covid-19 Outbreak. . Without the masks medical providers are at increased risk of contracting Covid-19 from the patients they treat.

The cloth  approach is an old-school way of solving a new-age problem. Before the manufacture of disposable masks, medical facilities relied on cotton masks to serve their needs. The masks would then be washed and sterilized after use.
With manufacturers and supply chains unable to keep up with demand, the cloth masks are something that can be easily made with dense cotton fabric, elastic, and a bit of time and skill.

“I can’t even sew, but I have a sewing machine and am going to try to figure it out,” Hansen said. “Just trying to spread the word and do something that will help.”

If you are making a mask and want to send it to Newton Medical Center contact  For drop off, contact Lori Janzing, director of materials management  at 316-804-6220.

Health Ministries contact number is  (316) 283-6103.

To drop off at Wesley contact 316-619-7895.

If you’re wanting to make a more advanced version for personal use (not what local hospitals have approved) here’s a filter design that uses a vacuum bag.