Citizens work to make masks

Published 2:40 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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Rose Maire Howard and Teresa Dunaway are two Charlotte County residents who are donating their time and efforts making homemade masks to help those who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and others who are at risk of contracting the virus.

Howard got involved in the effort when her daughter, Toni Puckett of Farmville, called to see if she could make masks for Dayton Puckett and his staff at Puckett Funeral Home in Farmville.

“Dayton had ordered N95 masks well over a month ago, but they never arrived. We now believe that it could be months before they get here,” Puckett said. “Some of my friends on Facebook had been sharing some tutorials, so I emailed them to my mother to review and she was happy to make the masks for Dayton and his staff and asked me to call The Woodland Nursing Home to see if they needed masks for their staff or patients.”

Howard says that when help is needed during a time like this that all able people will respond in any way that they can.

“I personally like helping people and this pandemic is a horror and requires we each do what we can,” Howard said. “Thus, if the masks only help to keep people’s hands off their faces, they will have served a good purpose and we will certainly continue as long as there is a need and we have supplies.”

As of Monday, Howard says she has produced 100 masks. Making them is a team effort.

“I sew assembly-line fashion making these masks,” Howard said. “My husband pitches in and cuts things apart, clips on ties ready to sew, ties knots in the strings and clips threads. He does it to help me and those receiving the masks.”

For Dunaway, she is not only making homemade masks. She is also teaching several area school children a life skill.

According to Dunaway, now that schools are closed, she is keeping her grandchildren and several other children whose parents still need to go into work each day.

“With the kids out of school, this has been their homeschooling lessons,” Dunaway said. “They are learning home economics and art and they are learning how good it feels to help others also.”

Dunaway says she began making masks after talking with her daughter Wendy Tucker who works in the emergency department at Centra Southside Community Hospital.

“My daughter said the emergency department needed covers for their regular masks because they were hard to get, so they were reusing ones they had.”

According to Dunaway, her daughter got a design approved, and “it just went from there.”

“I tell everyone who asks how much they owe for one of these masks that they owe nothing,” Dunaway said. “We will continue to sew as long as there is a need and all we ask in return is for everyone to pay it forward.”

To date, Dunaway, and the children she watches, have made close to 300 masks, with some of them being shipped to nurses in New York.

According to Dunaway, a doctor in New York had seen a Facebook post she had made and inquired about getting several masks.