The saying, “many hands make light work,” was never more evident over the last year than the effort undertaken by more than 100 volunteers to make nearly 10,000 fabric masks to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In late March 2020, a number of people from Pettis and Benton counties reached out to Bothwell Regional Health Center with offers to help by sewing masks and other personal protective equipment, and a group of volunteers was quickly formed.
Bothwell then partnered in May with local businesses, health care agencies, churches and nonprofit organizations to coordinate and ramp up efforts and received many donations of mask materials and money.
According to Rose McMullin, Bothwell chief nursing officer, area retail stores in Pettis, Benton and Morgan counties donated materials or sold fabric at reduced prices. Volunteers had enough material to continue making masks through December. The final masks made with purchased fabric were turned in to the hospital on Jan. 4.
“It’s just been a tremendous and heartwarming effort by so many people in and around Sedalia,” McMullin said. “We are so thankful to everyone who contributed either funds or materials. The effort has been a huge help, especially early in the pandemic when the supply of masks was low.”
Volunteers delivered to the hospital an average of 161 masks per week from March through December. Masks were distributed to many locations including the Pettis County Health Center, OATS Transportation Services, Lions Club, Sedalia Police Department, funeral homes, pharmacies in Pettis and Benton counties, as well as at Bothwell’s Emergency Department, front entrance and clinics.
McMullin said many of the volunteers commented over the months of work their concern for others, compassion for helping and appreciation for how area health care teams worked together to make the mask campaign a priority.
“We owe a huge debt of thanks to the volunteers who made thousands of masks,” she said. “We could not have made sure our area residents had masks to protect themselves without each and every one of them, and we are immensely grateful.”