With statewide health officials urging residents to use masks in public settings where they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others, Sequim and Olympic Peninsula residents remain hard at work making homemade masks for their neighbors.
Iris Courage, who moved with her husband Shannon to Sequim in January 2020 after nearly 30 years in Pittsburgh, Pa., is a longtime seamstress and quilter who decided to use her skills by sewing face masks.
She recently donated a couple of dozen masks to the nursing staff at Jamestown Family Health Clinic.
Courage encourages residents to check out mask-making videos online through YouTube or Joann.com, or to contact her at email@example.com for assistance or information.
The Sequim Face Masks Challenge continues to coordinate dozens of volunteers as they sew and assemble masks and gowns for tier 1, 2 and 3 healthcare and essential workers throughout the area.
While the frontline healthcare workers may need specific masks to work with suspected COVID-19 patients, there are plenty of others in the community, from home health workers to staff at grocery stores and the like, who could use the sewn masks, co-coordinator Jim Stoffer said.
“Some protection is better than nothing,” he said.
And the need for masks hasn’t gone away weeks into the pandemic.
“It’s not as sprint; it’s going to be a long marathon,” co-coordinator Monica Dixson said.
The team’s “store” at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave. is open 9 a.m.-noon, Monday-Friday, to pick up supplies to make masks; drop-off donations are taken 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
The Sequim Emergency Operations Center’s drop-off site is Greywolf Elementary School, 171 Carlsborg Road, where residents can donate/drop off masks, gowns and in particular a growing need for gloves.
The Clallam County Emergency Operations Center location is the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles, open 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday.
“The county will distribute the supplies to where they are needed most,” Clallam County emergency personnel said. “All donations of masks, gowns, gloves, will stay in, and be distributed to, our community. They will not go elsewhere.”
Other drop-off centers include:
• Sequim Community Church, 950 N. Fifth Ave., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday (drop off donations only)
• Sound Community Bank, 645 W. Washington St., 8:30 a.m.- 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturdays (mask donations only).
For more about the Sequim Face Masks Challenge and resources/information, find the group on Facebook, see clallamcountyfacemasks.org, call/text 360-775-9781 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer to help
Clallam County is still seeking volunteers to help with the COVID-19 response effort.
Those who would like to volunteer are asked to contact Volunteer Services Coordinator Becca Yucha at email@example.com.
Or, report directly to the Vern Burton Center, 308 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles, between 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., Monday-Friday.