Herald Staff Writer
Summa Health System is accepting homemade masks from volunteers as it prepares for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases.
With an increase of temporary layoffs and time spent at home, many citizens are in a unique position to help the healthcare system prepare for an increasing number of patients. As the number of confirmed cases in Summit County continues to grow, volunteers are stepping forward and putting their newfound free time to good use. “Our lives have been severely impacted by this pandemic, especially as healthcare providers,” says Summa Health President and CEO Cliff Deveny, “but, adversity is the fuel for greatness. In these challenging times, we have seen so many people come together for the greater good and rise to the occasion.”
One example of this commitment is the support of volunteers in the form of homemade masks. These masks, which have been deemed acceptable by the CDC during a pandemic crisis, can help prevent the spread of the virus as well as a potential mask shortage.
Through their partnership with Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Barberton Hospital has a supply of material available to those interested in making masks. The packet for the new Sewing for Summa Program includes a sewing pattern, a link to an instructional web video and free cotton, cotton flannel fabric, elastic and thread to create the masks. Volunteers may also make masks out of their own materials as long as the front panel of masks is made from 100% cotton material and the back panel is made from cotton flannel.
Interested volunteers can request materials by contacting Summa Volunteer Services at 330-375-3247 or at firstname.lastname@example.org and completed masks can be dropped off at Summa Health’s Corporate Office from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on weekdays or mailed to the Volunteer Services Office at 525 E. Market St., Akron, OH, 44304. The drive will run through Friday, April 24 and all masks will be cleaned and inspected before being used. Those looking to contribute to the national stockpile can pick up a free mask sewing kit at any Jo-Ann location and turn them in to the store when completed.
While the donated masks are not N95 masks (and don’t claim to be) they will assist police in not touching their faces. “Truly a thoughtful and helpful act of community love during this pandemic,” Barberton Police Chief Vince Morber.
Coburn’s Quilting Plus owner Joyce Coburn makes cotton masks for the Barberton Police Department with her daughter Martine Wilson and granddaughter Emily Craig-Wilson.
Joyce donates several masks for Barberton Police Officers.