‘Somebody sew me!’: Wakefield Seamsters step-up to make community masks
The Wakefield Seamsters have banded together to put their skills to use–sewing masks to distribute to the residents of the Hills, Outaouais and even Ottawa–to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
The Seamsters' goal is to give a mask, free of charge, to anyone who needs to be out of the house. Kim Misner, the founder of the Wakefield Seamsters, said the group formed when a friend who works for CISSSO approached her to ask if she would be willing to sew some masks as they were anticipating a shortage in seniors' residences, nursing homes and other healthcare settings.
“This was right around the time health organizations were starting to come around to the use of masks by the general public,” said Misner. “Early research is finding that cloth masks provide some layer of protection and are much better than wearing no face-covering and the cloth masks we make are meant to protect others from us, and not the other way around.”
“The Wakefield community always comes together when someone needs help, so I knew I wouldn't have trouble starting a little sewing group. But from day one, it just blew up.”
Of course, Misner was expecting Wakefield to step up to the challenge, as it always does, but she is still incredibly grateful for the community's generosity.
“We have 98 members as of April 26, many of whom are sewing for hours every day,” said Misner. “Our kitchen tables look like a bomb went off at Fabricland, and we're sewing any chance we get.”
Beyond donations of their time, Misner also said they have received “bags and bags” of fabric and sewing supplies but said they can always use more cotton quilting fabric, thread, pipe cleaners and thin elastic.
“Thanks to all these donations, we are well on our way to supplying a mask to everyone in the community who wants one,” said Misner. “We're also supplying Sully Gardens seniors residence, a nursing home in Ottawa with high staff turnover, and a centre for homeless and vulnerable women in Ottawa.”
Misner said they have had many people offering to donate money to the Seamster’ but said they would rather see people give it to a local charity or pay it forward by doing something nice for an essential worker.
“We are also asking for people to only request one mask per person, and ideally only for the people who absolutely need to leave their houses,” said Misner. “[Also], it's important for people to remember that cloth masks are in no way meant to replace hand-washing and social distancing measures. They need to make sure their masks are washed regularly, and that they never touch their face while removing it.”
The Wakefield Seamster’ have a Facebook page if you would like to help out or donate: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2513166045590325/announcements/
If you would like to receive a mask you can sign-up at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfQXvB_k_ipLd-WHuNkqH4Rmn4kxlZdKQQeArxSqTShpDC6Rw/viewform