Mask Makers 2020 West Cobb Making Big Impact
Tami Gallagher started sewing masks on March 19, following a conversation with her best friend, a surgical nurse at Children's of Atlanta. Tami’s friend shared with her the growing shortage of PPE equipment, especially masks. Tami posted on Facebook and asked local friends and national colleagues to join in to help donate fabric, wash, dry, cut, sew and distribute masks. Over the past several weeks, Mask Makers 2020 West Cobb have already used 450 yards of fabric which came from Tami, who is a costume maker, while waiting on delivery of an additional $2,000 in fabric and supplies which was purchased with donated funds.
Jane Swanson jumped in with both feet and three arms and became Tami’s 4-Star General in terms of logistics, recruiting, scheduling -- you name it, she can do it. Jane is the perfect "dog robber" as they say in the military. With Jane’s help, Tami’s was able to focus on maintaining her fabric supply to ensure the incoming requests for masks could be met along with packing completed masks and routing them to the medical centers daily.
Jane then asked Lorelle LoCurto to create a group Facebook page – which allowed volunteers to be grouped by neighborhoods and easily distribute the pattern files, directions, etc. After four days of launching the Facebook page, one of the ladies' daughter Erin Gibson stepped up as administer of the page, in addition to cutting fabric, uploading all of the how-to videos and answering sewing questions from volunteers.
Mask Makers 2020 West Cobb now has 583 volunteers from all walks of life in less than thirty days. They work mainly in neighborhood "hubs" with runners doing porch pickups in their neighborhoods, bring all pickups to either Jane or Tami and gathering new supplies to start the process over again. They then count the masks, sort, separate and pack in the evenings and notify recipients of their availability the next day. They have two pickup points and have no contact pickups on porch and driveway which strictly follow the protocols given by Atlanta area hospitals for all the masks donated. Tami and Jane also started a "Gimme $5" campaign to raise additional funds for fabric and supplies.
“People have been so amazing with their donations that allow us to keep this going,” Tami said.
In addition to donations, organizers applauded the amazing women and men they have the privilege to work with. Some of the organizations who have requested and received masks from Mask Makers 2020 West Cobb include Cobb and Douglas Public Health Department, Summit Surgical Center, Cobb County Vascular ICU Unit, Kennestone Social Workers, Piedmont Hospital, Emory St. Joseph Hospital, Emory ST. Joseph ICU Unit, Maternal Fetal Specialists, Atlanta, Wellstar Hospital, Women & Pediatrics, Wellstar Hospice Center, Cobb County First Responders, Grady Hospital Trauma Center, Emory Hospital Labor & Delivery, Kennesaw Police Department, Dynamic Sports and Spine Center and Visiting Angels.
As of April 15, Mask Makers 2020 West Cobb had supplied 6,870 masks with additional requests for 4,914 still needed and growing. If you would like to help, donations can be made using Venmo: Jane Swanson@Jane-Swanson-8. All donations will be used towards supplies. In the event supplies are no longer available, Mask Makers 2020 West Cobb will donate remaining monies to Never Alone Pantry and MUST Ministries.
A beautiful closing message from Tami: "In all truthfulness, it shouldn't have been possible to get to this level in this amount of time, but we feel very strongly that God is blessing our work, so the impossible became possible. Thank you so much for shining a light on this, we so hope it brings us more volunteers! Our hashtag is #strongertogether and it perfectly describes our mission."
We thank Tami Gallagher, Jane Swanson and all of Mask Makers 2020 West Cobb volunteers for the great work they are doing during this global pandemic.