Area Quilters Turn Stitches Into Masks

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Weeks ago volunteers across the nation began making face masks for hospital personnel to help fill some of the shortages. And, Benton County volunteer quilters and sewists are keeping in step with the project by making masks for local medical facilities and other organizations that may have a need. Amy Senatore, owner/operator of City’s Edge Quilt Shop and Sewing Center in Warsaw, said that one of her customers has a daughter that works with the Benton County Health Department (BCHD) and made some for her and her co-workers. Senatore decided “Why not let us be the central drop off spot?” thinking it would be safer for her customers to utilize the shop as a central drop off while getting additional supplies to make more masks would keep them safer than going to facilities where they may be exposed to COVID-19.
“We have curbside service now and no customers are in the store, so when someone has masks, store personnel go outside to retrieve them,” said Senatore. “For now, the store is open from 10 Am to 3 PM, Monday through Friday, for anyone who is making masks and would like to drop them off there.”
Senatore said the word is getting out and she began getting requests from local organizations and medical facilities for large numbers of the masks. BCHD needed 280 while a local nursing home requested 130. Bothwell Regional Health Center has also been receiving masks and could use maybe 1,000. A single doctor or nurse could use 20 or 30 in a day.  Senatore said that BCHD not only needs masks for nurses, but for Hospice patients too and that she believes that she will have the total 280 it needs by the end of March. Senatore wanted it made clear that although many medical facilities are using these, and realizes they do not meet CDC requirements, they are usually placed on top of a paper mask or filter that does extend the life of N95 masks that do meet CDC requirements.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website posted the following statement regarding HCP (Healthcare Personnel) use of homemade masks: “In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP 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 PPE (Personal Protective 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.”
Because of the shortage of masks, some medical personnel have reached this “last resort” option that is left to them.
A medical employee at Truman Lake – Bothwell Regional Health Center, said that she wears a CDC approved paper mask under her homemade mask. The Health Center also provides paper masks to patients who are escorted from their car directly to the doctor’s office or lab for appointments. No one waits in the waiting room.
Senatore said that Bothwell Hospital in Sedalia gave her two specific patterns for homemade facemasks that are to be used for its physicians. The patterns are free, on City’s Edge website,  Those wanting to make the masks can also get a small amount of free materials from City’s Edge to use for their project while supplies last. A pocket is provided in the masks for filters, some which go with respirators. She said that it is very important to use 100 percent cotton fabric for the masks, and the fabric must be prewashed in the hottest water setting, and dried in the hottest setting to shrink the fabric as far as it will go. Then, it is ready to be cut out and sewn. She said that pleated masks are the easiest to make, but the request from Bothwell is for a “duckbill” design mask. 
This selfless donations of time and skill by volunteers are not the only signs of teamwork in the local area. Senatore said that she has also received donations of elastic needed for the masks which is in great shortage, and asks anyone who has 1/8” – 3/8” elastic to bring or mail to her to hand out. These items are in great demand, and hard to locate even from the distributors.
“I have also had donations of products and funds,” said Senatore. “A local Lutheran organization in Warsaw, Thrivent, has donated $250 to the store to use for materials for masks. It was presented to me by Roberta Schnackenberg. And customers as well have provided a small contribution to provide supplies to those willing to help.”
City’s Edge currently is open for business only with purchases on-line or by phone, and curbside service which means calling the store at 660-438-3177 that may result in busy signals. If you have a need for your organization you may contact Amy Senatore at