PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A group of local sewers has joined together to make masks for health care professionals and first responders in Escambia County.
The Pensacola Mask Sewers, a Facebook group, formed two and a half weeks ago, said founder Jess Patton, and it has already made and donated more than 7,000 masks.
Patton told News 5 she formed the group after seeing calls for masks on the news. She said she got out her sewing machine and realized they were simple to make. So, she recruited others to help her.
Calls for masks started pouring in. One call from a local hospital made the desperation for masks especially clear.
“She was basically saying, ‘We’re removing bodies and we need masks,’” Patton said. “And that really overwhelmed me. I told her to come get them right now.”
The group has more than 600 sewers. Others deliver masks or work to get the word out to hospitals in need.
“It’s given us hope and something for us to be a part of and to realize one person really can make a difference,” Patton said.
Many of the supplies needed to make masks have been donated by the community or supply stores like The Fabric Zoo off North Ninth Avenue in Pensacola.
Owner Jeana Pitts set more fabric out on the front porch of the shop to be picked up Wednesday afternoon. The fabric store has been serving as a hub for Pensacola Mask Sewers dropping off masks and picking up materials.
Pitts said the community effort has been special.
“I love how the community comes together and everyone does their small part to make big things happen,” Pitts said.
Pensacola mask sewer Lyra Sharp was dropping off masks at the store Wednesday afternoon.
Sharp said she has been sewing all her life, and when a friend told her about the effort, she had to join.
“The love in my heart is amazing,” she said. “I hope that love outdoes this virus.”
Sharp told News 5 the group hardly knows one another, but they’re all working together to keep others safe.
“We don’t even know each other,” she said. “But I hope when this is all said and done, we can get together one day and give each other a big hug.”