Sarah Albracht got an early warning about the spread of the coronavirus. The Springfield woman is the wife of a doctor at Springfield Clinic.
“As we were watching other countries, you start crunching numbers and realize we’re going to have some shortages and a crisis here as well,” she said.
Albracht has been organizing an effort with sewing groups in the area through an outreach ministry at Cherry Hills Church. The effort is called Masks For Life. It’s not supplanting mass production, but it’s part of the effort to meet the need.
She estimates she has taken about 1,000 masks to where they need to go in a little over a week. “I know there is more mask production happening that I am not even aware of,” Albracht said.
Sewing circles and volunteers have been coming together in towns across Illinois and the U.S.
This particular team of seamstresses stretches around the world. Young and old, from Mexico to India, Albracht said people just want to do something to help.
Patterns are distributed. A local dry cleaner is sanitizing the masks before they are distributed to health care facilities. And while the homemade items aren’t of the quality of professional-made ones, Albracht said they provide at least some defense against COVID-19.
While a crisis can be a difficult experience, Albracht also sees something positive. “I definitely think the community is coming together. The church rises up in this time and I think individuals do. They bring hope to one another.”
She also urges everyone to get involved. Even if they can’t sew, there are plenty of things to do.
“A lot of people are getting their yard work done or cleaning out closets. Well, when you’re done with that, it’s time to look outside. It’s time to look at how you can help others,” Albracht said.
“We can’t go save people’s lives but we can use the gifts we have.”