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Elastic in need

Volunteers look to make face masks

By Stephen Betts | Mar 25, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts Betty Shannon of Somebody Loves Me Bridal of Rockland is spearheading an effort to produce face masks to give out to residents of assisted living facilities.

Rockland — Volunteers are looking for a place to produce face masks that will be given out to assisted living facility residents.

Betty Shannon, owner of Somebody Loves Me Bridal in Rockland, said there are two things needed – a space to manufacture them and elastic.

The shortage of elastic came as a surprise to Shannon, who said she has tried unsuccessfully to get the material during the past week-and-a-half from the same suppliers she has used for 10 years in Rockland and before that in Arizona.

Because of that shortage, Shannon is putting out a plea to seamstresses, asking them to donate whatever they can spare.

These masks will not meet the specifications to be used by first responders or medical personnel, Shannon acknowledged but will offer some protection for older residents at assisted living facilities in the area.

In terms of a space, a place large enough to set up tables where people can set up their sewing machines and be 10-to-12 feet apart would be ideal. Shannon said she has been unable to find such a location.

"If push comes to shove we can operate like a cottage industry where people can make them in their own homes," she said.

She has a couple seamstresses already to work on the effort but the lack of elastic is preventing the work.

The pattern for the masks is simple, she said. The masks will be made of three-ply of polycotton which is a mix of cotton and artificial fibers.

Anyone who has elastic that they can donate or know of a location where the masks can be produced can contact Shannon at or call her store at 596-5505.

The masks will be given out free of charge.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued the following advice on the use of home-made face masks for healthcare personnel.

"In settings where facemasks are not available, healthcare personnel might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered personal protection equipment, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face."

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Comments (6)
Posted by: Harry Fitzgerald | Mar 26, 2020 00:13

For space how about a high school gym? They are all empty now. And do you need sewing talent to sew the masks or can we be taught? Maybe non sewers could help box them up and deliver.

Nancy Fitzgerald

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Mar 25, 2020 15:56

"I’m a NURSE — please watch this video to the end.

I wish I wasn’t emotional, but that would’ve made me a horrible nurse over the last twelve years.

I’ve worked for some of the best hospitals in the country — I have seen life and death — I have been blessed beyond measure by my patients and their families. But right now, America’s finest healthcare providers are front and center, unprotected without enough supplies. What I really want to say, is that we’re about to get our asses handed to us, but that seems unlike me because I don’t swear very often. Or at all really.

I’m afraid people don’t know this and I don’t want to scare you, but I’m scared.

This video is how this feels, right now — today. To me. I don’t know if I’m right, I don’t know if I’m wrong, I question myself and wonder if I’m over reacting and I bet not everyone feels like I do or thinks like I think. I could face disciplinary action or lose my job for this — but it’s just what’s happening inside my heart.

America, please, please — help us. I promise, we’ll be here for you the entire way.

Nurse Jacqueline A. Cederberg


Posted by: Deborah L. C. Green | Mar 25, 2020 14:24

There are patterns that use fabric/ribbon/bias tape ties instead of elastic.  Bless you all for wanting to help.

Posted by: Stephen Betts | Mar 25, 2020 12:30

Michael and Betty please contact each other.

Posted by: Michael Mullins | Mar 25, 2020 11:43

Hi there, I have opened a pop up factory to make masks and other protective gear, located in Camden

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Mar 25, 2020 08:34

PHEW!! What a way to make our day. There are so many fine people out there in our midst.  Want to lose your dis ease? Reach out and touch someone. These folks are doing that. :)

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