With the COVID-19 outbreak sweeping across the world and United States the need for medical face masks is becoming a stark reality. One Sedalia seamstress is donating time and material to help with the supply chain.

Kimberlie Windle, the costume designer for State Fair Community College Theatre Department and owner of k. mae designs, began sewing masks Friday. By Sunday, she and others had created 253 masks, and by Monday there were requests for 300 more. 

“I had a couple friends text me a link for a hospital in Oklahoma that was looking for people to send masks,” she said Monday, by phone. “After getting the texts a couple times I said, ‘OK this is something I need to be doing, let me find out how I can do it.’”

She began asking friends if they knew of hospitals and clinics in need of masks. She also made a post on Facebook and was soon receiving messages not only locally, but from across the U.S.

“The messages just started pouring in, on posts and private messages,” she noted. “It has gotten a lot bigger than I anticipated.”

She is making face masks for both the public and for healthcare workers at hospitals and clinics.

“Some (of the masks) are for people who are having to go to the hospital because they have transfusions or appointments,” Windle explained. 

Before beginning the project, Windle researched online on how to construct medical face masks.

“One website said to use four layers of cotton fabric,” she said. “While I’m not positive that it is the best mask in the world, I figure it’s better than not having a mask at all.

“I’m donating them because I want people to be able to have one if they need one,” she continued. “Or if they are trying to help their staff have extra masks. It’s just a small way I can help while I’m not working because the college is closed.”

She added sewing the masks helps her feel productive and useful during this stressful time.

Windle’s friends and others have stepped in to help her with the project the last few days. Some have given her monetary donations to ship masks or picked up fabric to cut for her or donated fabric. People are also helping to sew and pin masks.

“There’s been a lot of support from friends and other people in the community,” she noted.

“I’ve been putting out piles of cut fabric in baskets and they’ll pick them up and sew it and bring it back to me.”

 In the last week, Windle said she’s hearing about numerous individuals and churches stepping forward to sew masks during the worldwide pandemic.

“I know there’s a lot of local needs still,” she said. “So, if there’s anybody interested I know there’s lots of hospitals asking. Or if people want to get masks to me, I’d be happy to distribute to people I have on my list waiting.”

For more information or to order masks email Windle at k.maedesigns@hotmail.com or private message her on Facebook page at k. mae designs.

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Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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