By Grace Maselli
Meet Mary. She’s an “Infection Preventionist” RN at Tampa General Hospital. See her mask? This was donated to her and some of her Infection Preventionist friends through the network of Florida Timebanks and its literal grassroots mobilization. Why? To assist healthcare workers not only in our immediate area, but other places. Take New York, for instance. Once again, Ground Zero for a crisis.
As of this writing, anti-coronavirus queen and TBT member Delphine Geraci has sewn 610 masks—with another 45 in line for completion today. Upwards of 75 of the beauties will be sent to a Brooklyn healthcare center described as a “war zone” by a hard-working physician there.
Delphine’s gotten some help from timebank elves across the region, not to mention timebankers’ neighbors, and the faith-based community. Our “runners” are buying and donating elastic bands and washed-and-cut fabric, bringing them to the drop-off table at Delphine’s house (and any other willing sewer who’s ready to come forward with her or his spools of thread!)
Staving Off Airborne Particles
The masks are intended to extend the lifespan of N95s, aka, “respirators and surgical masks (face masks) that are examples of personal protective equipment used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face.” In other words, a calculated barrier against Covid-19. No doubt you’ve heard that N95s are in short supply, with medical staff using them longer than they otherwise would. Supplemental timebank masks are designed to help lengthen the lives not only of N95s, but strengthen their precious and courageous wearers.
Llamas, Mustaches, and “PUL”
The timebank team’s fabric cutters, elastic gatherers, drivers, and sewers are using “The Turban Project” face mask pattern, though there are others among us also using a larger pattern. If you’re in the mood to explore, there’s lots to know and download from this site. Our fabrics are covered in llamas, polka dots, Haight-Ashbury tie dye, Star Wars memorabilia, and mustaches. Delphine, a Bariatric RN, is also making some out of “PUL,” or what’s described as a “disposable, breathable, and waterproof fabric, specially treated so that it is not harmful to the skin, both in adults and babies. PUL has a great variety of utilities and uses, such as the making of disposable masks and other sanitary covers.” According to Delphine, “PUL gives better protection when worn alone. Cotton is best when worn over an existing mask.”
In the meantime, we’ll keep on the move, aiming to help by being part of the larger community effort—part of the whole, as long as we’re able.
It’s true what they say: it takes an (underground) village to grow a heart to 50 times its normal size; this writer has never been more proud to be a member of a community that’s got one big enough to go around.
For donations of breathable cotton fabric and related supplies, contact Rita at 608.335.2382.