Medical masks are in high demand throughout nursing homes and medical facilities in Sarasota—so Peg Normandin of the South Sarasota Modern Quilt Guild responded to the shortage by rallying her members. Sewers from the guild have gathered fabric scraps to create medical masks that fit over the professional N95 masks, which allows the N95 masks to last longer. 

Masks made by members of the Modern Sarasota Quilt Guid.

Masks are made with two layers of tightly woven cotton fabric in a variety of colors and patterns, with elastic or latex-free alternatives. The materials are washed prior to distribution, then disinfected again by each medical facility.The fabric masks are also made with slits, so medical professionals can insert a filter, which adds another layer of protection. While individuals may use the masks, the Quilt Guild's first priority is health care workers. 

"We put a little disclaimer note in each batch of masks that they are handmade, and not to be used in place of a filtered mask, if you already have one," says Quilt Guild founder Jenni Engleman. "They are simply used to prolong mask life."  

So far, nursing homes, children advocacy centers and shelters are among those that have requested latex-free masks or specific elastics and patterns, depending on each facilities' requirements.  

More than 90 masks were delivered to one company on Wednesday, March 25, and Engleman says the guild has an entire spreadsheet of requests.

"We imagine we'll make more than 500 masks by the end of this month," says Engleman. "We were shocked by the need when we started. As long as there is a need, we'll keep making them."

The Quilt Guild has been making and donating quilts to organizations in the community for two years. The guild has 70 members and continues to grow, especially during these challenging times. "We have had people volunteering even if they can't sew," says Engleman. "They want to help in any way they can." 

For more information about the South Sarasota Modern Quilt Guild, click here

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