Lioness members sewing masks to save lives

Apr 9, 2020 | Uncategorized

Staff Writer

The men and women of the Crestline Lioness Club are always willing to help when the community faces a need. Last week, the staff of San Antonio Hospital said they needed 200 face masks during this Coronavirus pandemic for use in the emergency room when they didn’t have enough of the N95 masks, and they needed immediate help. The Crestline Lioness Club immediately agreed to fill the need.

Lioness Vice President Libby Hayes said, “My son is on the rapid response team in the emergency room at San Antonio Hospital. With the shortage of supplies at the hospital, he figured since I was retired and not supposed to be doing anything, I was a good candidate for sewing masks. Naturally, I called on my fellow Lionesses to help out. There are about 200 staff members in the ER.”

She immediately got a pattern and got Lioness Tom Parker to start cutting out the fabric. They are making a larger size and a smaller size with a space for the HEPA filters inside that can be removed, cleaned and replaced for the staff’s protection.

Immediately, Lioness President Bonnie Hawes and her husband, George, were on board. As other Lioness members heard about the project, Rosemarie Labadie, Barbara Rhodes and Colleen Slaymaker got their sewing machines into action, using fabric they had at home. Hayes soon went to purchase more yardage so they could continue making masks.

They made doorstop pick-ups and deliveries of material and masks, getting the first masks to the hospital in just a few days. Every mask was washed and filters inserted before it was sent to the hospital. Using HEPA vacuum filters makes the masks 87-percent effective, a rather high efficiency rate for a custom face mask.

The ER staff loved the variety of the masks and found ones to their personality and liking. The Lionesses delivered fabric designs of daisies, dragonflies, mint green, sky blue, sparkly purple and blue, checks and solids, florals, doggies and cats, with the most popular fabric being the EMS design. Libby had previously purchased that fabric for a project she had planned to make for her son, but she felt these face masks were immediately needed and much more important.

Each mask pattern requires five pieces sewn together to get the facial space and the under-the-chin tightness the staff wanted. The Lionesses used a variety of fabrics with the dense thread count the staff desired.

“When the other hospital staff members saw the masks we gave to the ER staff, they requested we make more for the rest of the staff,” Libby said, adding, “Now we have a request for an additional 600 masks.”

George Hawes is also a member of the Lions in Big Bear and has asked to get involved. He is proud to be helping. “I’m letting Bonnie do the sewing. I’m keeping busy doing the cutting. We have many more to make now.”

Hayes has asked other Lioness Clubs to join in with them to help fill this immediate need, as the virus is spreading quickly.

The Crestline Lioness Club has fulfilled its original promise, getting the face masks to the hospital in short order, even before Riverside government leaders suggested every resident in that county wear a mask when out in public.

“When the Ontario Police Department saw the masks, they requested we also make 500 for them,” added Hayes. “They liked the quality and design.”

Hayes, through her Facebook page, is seeking additional help. If any community member likes to sew and would like to volunteer their hours, the Lioness Club will supply the fabric. Libby would like you to contact her at (909) 3387124 and get involved.

“This is truly a matter of life and death in the face of the COVID-19 virus, and anything we can do to help save lives, such as making these masks, we are willing to do,” Hayes added. “This is a war that none of us wants to lose.”



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