Home Sewing Project Aims To Help Hospitals & Health Care Workers

Mar 25, 2020

If you are looking for a way to help in the response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Freeport Health Network (FHN) has a request -- sew surgical masks. 

Jo-Ann's Fabrics is handing out free "Take & Make" bags to anyone who wishes to sew surgical masks.
Credit Connie Kuntz / Connie Kuntz

The approved sewing pattern is called the Deaconess. Mark Gridley is the CEO of FHN. He said it's a simple pattern that has three tucks for additional protection. The Deaconess pattern name is also a nod to the history of FHN which, in 1924, was known as the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital.

When you are done sewing, the homemade masks may be dropped off at FHN Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The address is 1045 W. Stephenson St., Freeport. Gridley said all will be thoroughly inspected.

"We have a team of individuals looking through each mask to make sure they are the right material and the right pattern. Then we'll send them for laundering once again to make sure that we have them ready for distribution," said Gridley.

When the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) approves the use of homemade masks, they will be distributed in various health care settings, including nursing homes.

Jo-Ann stores are also a part of this initiative. The Freeport branch is offering Deaconess-specific supplies and instructions in free "Take & Make" bags. They also have a drop-off bin for completed masks in their Creator's Studio.

Jo-Ann's outreach doesn't end in Freeport. They have launched a nationwide effort to help empower people to sew surgical masks. Every Jo-Ann store (there are nearly 850) in America is distributing free "Take & Make" bags for people who want to help.

Members of the sewing community line up at Jo-Ann's Fabrics for free "Take & Make" surgical mask sewing kits.
Credit Connie Kuntz

Some Jo-Ann's stores have curbside pickup. Other stores utilize social distancing and maintain cleanliness as they distribute the kits. All Jo-Ann Fabrics, like the Freeport branch, have drop-off bins for completed homemade sewing masks.

For more information about community help, visit the FHN website.