Coronavirus in Kewaunee County: Artisan Center makes 563 masks for Bellin
KEWAUNEE – Count the Kewaunee Artisan Center among those who pitched in to help supply health care providers with protective personal equipment during the coronavirus crisis.
About 35 women who are members of the center sewed together 563 protective masks in less than a week and donated them to Bellin Hospital in Green Bay.
Cheryl Daul, president of the nonprofit center, said she was contacted by a friend of hers from St. Paul Lutheran Church in Algoma who also is a registered nurse supervisor at Bellin asking if the group would be able to make some masks for use at the hospital. They're not masks meant for use by those working with possible coronavirus cases, but they can be used elsewhere throughout the hospital, Daul said.
As it turned out, the artisans had time for the project. The center normally would be busy offering classes in arts and crafts, but all classes were called off due to the pandemic, including five planned quilting classes.
"We had just canceled these quilting classes, so I said I have these ladies waiting to do something," Daul said.
Bellin sent the pattern for the masks to Daul on March 22, but she said it was too complicated for some of the artisans to make, with 20 pages of instructions. Bellin subsequently sent her a simpler pattern, and about 30 artisans plus five volunteers from St. Paul's Lutheran went to work.
Some cotton, the preferred fabric for masks because it can be washed and re-used, and flannel was available, but elastic was in short supply and difficult to find because so many businesses and volunteers across the country are urgently making masks.
But Daul talked about the effort in a report on WFRV-TV Channel 5 a few days after it started, mentioning the artisans were running low on supplies, after which some donated materials made their way to the center. Daul mentioned a teacher from Luxemburg who bought elastic bands and hair ties at a Family Dollar store and turned them over to the artisans. A number of masks also were made with cotton tie strings at the ends instead of elastic, which Daul said generally stand up to being washed better than elastic.
Daul and artisan center member Sherry Paplham set up a non-contact drop-off for the masks at the center March 27, and Daul said she was amazed and surprised by the number of masks that came in. They were delivered that night to Daul's friend from Bellin.
This is far from the first community service project the artisans have taken on. Members have stitched together and donated more than 150 Quilts of Valor for area veterans and underarm pillows for breast cancer patients through the regional Ribbon of Hope Foundation.
Daul said she and the other artisans are ready to start sewing again if Bellin or another health care provider asks.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Coronavirus in Kewaunee County: Artisan Center makes 563 masks for Bellin