Columbians sewing masks for hospital


In a time where most people are staying home in an effort to flatten the curve of the coronavirus, some Marion County women are using their time to help Marion General Hospital.

All across the nation the medical community has been dealing with supply shortages due to the influx of patients dealing with COVID-19. Now in an effort to help the health care workers, women are sewing face masks to assist the medical field.

According to Alania Cedillo, administrator at the hospital, the ideal facemask has a pocket that allows for a health care worker to insert a filter into the mask. With these masks, they can be washed over and over again and be reused.

While this type of mask may not protect the health care worker completely from the virus, if used in conjunction with the N95 respiratory mask, it can extend the life of the N95 mask.

Holli Powell saw a post on a community Facebook page where the hospital was requesting homemade masks. She contacted her mother, Mike Pendarvis, about it. Powell said Pendarvis made all of her formal dresses growing up and knew this was something they could do.

“I wanted to help but didn’t know how; I feel like we can all do something to help,” Powell said.

Powell went to Walmart on Tuesday to get as much of the supplies as she was able to get. Powell spoke with Mike Lowery, store manager at Walmart and he was able to have Walmart donate the supplies.

After washing and drying the fabric, Powell and Pendarvis along with Margaret Sandifer, Tonya Lambert, Stephanie Guidroz and Madison Bansbach each took a portion of the fabrics to begin cutting out more than 200 masks of different sizes for men and women.

She said she has been working late and Wednesday night her mother gave her a crash course in sewing. Now the next step is sewing the masks together. There are several free patterns available online as well as tutorials on how to make the masks.

“If I can do it, anyone can,” Powell said.

Cedillo also said if you had a family member who had home health care and you have boxes of used PPE (personal protection equipment, such as medical gloves), you can donate those supplies to the hospital.

Donations of the gloves and masks can be delivered to the Emergency Room. Cedillo asks if everyone will put their names and phone numbers on the bags as well so the hospital may thank the individuals for the donations.

Cedillo also said another way the community can help out is to follow the CDC guidelines and adhere to the governor’s mandates. 

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