Due to a massive shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) during the pandemic, healthcare workers everywhere have been reusing disposable equipment, being asked to provide their own, or going without equipment entirely.

The internet is full of stories of volunteers—local heroes—stepping up to meet this need by making and donating handmade equipment, particularly masks. Following are two such stories recently submitted to the Iowa-Missouri Conference.

West County Church

Rebecca Lawrence, head deaconess at the West County Church in Chesterfield, Missouri, has been providing handmade fabric masks to providers in her area.

Each mask features a washable felt filter and is accompanied by a note letting the recipient know they have been and will continue to be prayed for.

“It has been exciting to help others,” Rebecca said. “When one of the nurses received hers, she immediately sent us a picture of her modeling it.”

Rebecca and her family made and sent 16 masks to a group of physical therapists at a local retirement home. “They had nothing but their own homemade masks,” she said. “Our masks are much more protective than what they had been using. They are working with a vulnerable population, and we are thrilled that our masks may help to protect not only the PTs, but their elderly patients as well.”

Kansas City Central Church

The Kansas City Central Church’s women’s ministries team has been busy making protective masks for medical professionals, church members and others in the community who need them.

They partnered with The Sewing Labs, a local nonprofit organization that teaches people how to sew. In addition to offering training, The Sewing Labs is currently also providing supplies, sewing kits and patterns to those willing to make masks for healthcare workers.

As of April 27, church volunteers have made approximately 360 masks and have cut out six laundry loads worth of fabric for sewing kits that The Sewing Labs will provide to other volunteers who are making masks.

The Kansas City Central Church is thankful to The Sewing Labs and church members who are volunteering their time and energy to meet this great need.

Information submitted by Mary Schwantes, communication secretary for the West County Church; and Sarah Dunwoody, women’s ministries leader for the Kansas City Central Church.