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Crafters Work To Sew Up Hospitals’ Face Mask Shortage


The coronavirus pandemic has led to a national shortage of personal protection equipment for medical personnel such as face masks and gowns, and crafters are lending a hand.


Joann, one of the nation’s largest fabric and craft retailers, launched a program this week to donate fabric and training to make masks. On the first day of the effort, according to spokesperson Amanda Hayes, “we donated approximately 10,000 yards of fabric, which equates to about 100,000 masks.”

The national chain is training volunteers in its stores on how to make the masks and gowns. But it’s limiting the sizes of those classes to maintain social distancing.

“Or even if we’re just operating as a ship-from-store location, we’re still able to get inventory out so that people can create from their home,” Hayes said.

Joann’s is also offering online mask-making tutorials , as are other crafty groups like The Turban Project and Sewing for Lives.

It should be noted that homemade masks, like conventional paper surgical masks, do not provide a reliable level of protection from inhaling smaller airborne particles.

Find reporter Madelyn Beck on Twitter  @MadelynBeck8

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

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Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Madelyn Beck is Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau.
Madelyn Beck is Boise State Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. She's from Montana but has reported everywhere from North Dakota to Alaska to Washington, D.C. Her last few positions included covering energy resources in Wyoming and reporting on agriculture/rural life issues in Illinois.
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