Need for mask makers increases with mandates

As people going back to work and school need a mask, local volunteers are trying to keep up with demand
Published: Jul. 19, 2020 at 10:24 PM EDT
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TIFFIN, Ohio (WTVG) - As more people head back to work and school is fast approaching for kids, local volunteers are trying to keep up with the demand of people asking for masks.

From Maumee to Tiffin, and all across the state of Ohio, people like Melissa Casiano and Andrea Traunero have rolled up their sleeves, dusted off their sewing machines, and gotten to work making thousands of masks for hospital workers and individuals in need.

”Once these mask mandates went into effect, I have a list that is pages long,” says Casiano, who is part of the Facebook page Masking Maumee.

Casiano works two jobs, and with both of them running again, there is less downtime for sewing than before. Yet, she is still accepting donations to craft whenever she can, still making 20 per day on her own.

Many of her most recent requests, she explains, are for smaller faces.

”Lots of kid prints, because I know that’s going to be popular in the next month or so with the schools possibly requiring them,” she said.

Volunteers with Helping Hands Seneca County have made more than 36,000 masks. Andrea Traunero says the demand is still increasing, despite a drastic reduction of the once 100 active sewers there used to be in the group.

”During the shut down we had a lot of time where we had a lot of people doing nothing, so we had a lot of sewists,” says Traunero. “We are now at that point where everybody is going back to work. We have only about 10 to 15 active sewists right now, and I’m only able to produce and distribute about 100 masks a week instead of per day.”

Andrea has since made how-to videos for those wanting to learn the craft to join in. The videos and more are posted on their Facebook page, which has gotten the word out to the community on dozens of ways to help others in need.

Megan Schultz, a Tiffin resident, stopped by with her sister to pick up masks for their family from Andrea’s porch, which has hundreds of fabrics, patterns, and supplies.

”Not only sewing but the craft of taking the time to make something handmade, is so generous and thoughtful. So many generous people taking the time for others really stands out to us,” adds Schultz.

Regardless of when the pandemic ends, or how many more volunteers join in, the mask-makers we talked to all say they plan to keep on threading.

Copyright 2020 WTVG. All rights reserved.

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