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End the Year With Cheer: Sewing masks for donation

Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 9:02 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - When our News Director, Tracy Sabo, put out the challenge to each of us, including those of us behind the scenes, to come up with a cheerful story to put smiles on others’ faces, I knew right away what I wanted to do.

In early October, I was a patient at the Alaska Native Medical Center. When I walked into the building, I realized I had forgotten my mask in the car. The staff handed me a disposable mask with ties that tie behind the head. Unfortunately, I couldn’t secure the ties well enough to stay on and the mask kept slipping down during my time there.

I enjoy sewing as a hobby so when the challenge came, and knowing COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I knew sewing masks for donation to ANMC would fit right in.

When my co-worker, Kortnie Horazdovsky, saw what I was planning, she jumped on board.

So one day, we took over the news conference room, setting up our sewing machines, an ironing board, a fabric cutter that saves a ton of time by cutting the shapes of the masks, cutting mats, scissors, rotary cutters, rulers, and all the notions one would need for such a project.

We sewed for the next four hours while photojournalist Rachel McPherron filmed the whole process.

While Kortnie took her machine home at sewed more there, I left my machine set up in the conference room and for the next week, pumped out two more every day during my lunch hour. We ended up sewing 38 masks together.

Donation day finally came! We met ANMC’s Volunteer Services Coordinator, Roberta Miljure, at the front entrance of the hospital for handoff. She was very happy about the donation, saying, “It’s wonderful to be able to offer them a mask, to offer them that protection and keep everyone safe,” referring to patients and staff, “but we still would like to have the groups, volunteers, make donations of cloth masks to help protect our frontline staff and patients.”

Miljure told me that they wash all donated masks that come in.

Many organizations still welcome donations of cloth masks, so keep on sewing!

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