ATTLEBORO — A group of local women has made over 1,000 masks for health care workers, police and firefighters, and other frontline workers.
About half the 70 members of the South Attleboro Village Lions Club, most 60 and older, have not only made the masks, often using their own material and spending out of their pockets for more, but distributed them to those most in need.
Sewing machines have been humming along in dozens of homes the past several weeks for the group calling themselves “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.”
“Being Lions and serving others we felt lost and limited, and we needed to help in some way,” said Debby Horner, who has coordinated the effort. “These women are incredible, by their generous donations, sewing all day, delivering the masks, washing, cutting and ironing and making sure people in our and other communities are taken care of.”
Masks have been given to hospitals, including Sturdy Memorial, Norwood, and Rhode Island.
Area nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including Life Care, Maples, Chapel Hill, Benchmark, Garden Place, Pleasant Street Rest Home, and Madonna Manor have also been recipients of masks.
“We are making a difference in our community in trying to keep the most vulnerable in nursing homes safe,” Horner said.
Additional masks have been given to those handing out and delivering food to the public — including at food kitchens and pantries, grocery and pet stores and banks, postal workers, correctional officers, a veterinarian’s office, and even a family that was going to be having a baby.
The group has received an order of 50 masks for the Visiting Nurses in Attleboro for the nurses and patients, and it plans to provide nurses for Attleboro and North Attleboro with masks.
Masks are also being made for the Veterans Administration in Providence and have been handed out to the Providence Veterans Dental Clinic.
Workers there also sometimes serve as “medicine runners,” picking up and delivering prescriptions to veterans, Horner said.
Masks have gone out as far away as Stratton, Maine.
“We also took care of our own Village Lions and some members of the South Attleboro Lions, and our friends and families as a lot of our family are first responders or essential personnel,” Horner said. “We touched a lot of people.”
The club’s president was surprised but not taken back by the success of the project.
“They work tirelessly in all that they do,” club president Gail Girard said of the sewers. “I was surprised that we could get over 1,000 masks out to the community in such a short time. When there’s a need, they find a way.”
Everyone in the club got involved in one way or another.
“If a member could not sew, it may have been through a donation, picking up kits, cutting and washing fabric or delivering masks,” Girard said.
To donate materials for the masks or request masks, email Horner at email@example.com.