COVID-19 Heroes: Local Quilters Bring Area Residents Together on Common Cause

As the demand for surgical masks grows, one Mid Shore resident saw that quilters in the Boston area were making masks of colorful fabric for residents. She decided to share the pattern with some of her quilting friends in the local quilt guild, Bayside Quilters of the Eastern Shore, Inc., specifically, the guild’s Outreach and Modern Quilt Bees.
To date, 10 quilters have made over 240 masks which will be used primarily for patients being transported in ambulances to help prevent their germs from traveling in the air before they are diagnosed, as well as for law enforcement and nursing homes. According to Jan Willis, Coordinator of the Local Care Team for Talbot County, the masks are not intended to be protective gear. Instead, they are a practical aid that may help prevent the spread of germs from patients, as well as make them smile while they are going through a difficult time.
Willis comments, “This is a moment of a lifetime for quilters and anyone who sews – to use the fabric in their closets for good!”
A local quilter with Bayside Quilters Modern Quilt Bee adapted a pattern she found on the Internet and added wire in the top to form fit the masks over patients’ noses. She is coordinating the mask-making effort locally and distributing the masks to those who have requested them.  The masks are made in a variety of fabric patterns, from flowers to camouflage, which makes the project fun for quilters and recipients of the masks. Masks are laundered before being packaged for distribution.
Completed masks are picked up from people’s porches to keep social distancing. One anecdote from a local quilter was that a Queen Anne’s County quilter brought 30 masks by plane to the Easton airport to be distributed. This project is bringing the Mid Shore residents together and giving people things they can do to help.
County Health Officer Dr. Fredia Wadley comments, “This effort is just one example of how the residents in this community are reaching out to help meet unmet needs related to this virus. We salute the volunteerism of our community and thank all those who are stepping up.”
Bayside Quilters Outreach Quilt Bee supports Talbot Early Head Start, Caroline Family Service Center (with 3 Early Head Start locations), Talbot Hospice House and University of MD Shore Regional Health, 2 East/Pain Palliative Care unit and the Clark Breast Center with a variety of quilted items from bibs to quilts to soup bowl cozies for Empty Bowls. To participate in the mask-making project sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040e4daaa82faafb6-sewing. For further information about the project, contact Jan Willis at talbotlct@talbotcountymd.gov.

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