Coronavirus Updates

‘West Virginia Mask Army’ tackles PPE shortage

Local News

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – What started out as a Facebook page has turned into a full-fledged army.

Meet the West Virginia Mask Army.

“We hope to not be doing this forever, we hope we get shipments in but until then we will be producing,” says Suzanne Strait, Ph.D. at Marshall University.

Strait has taught thousands of West Virginia’s health care workers in her anatomy class as Marshall University. Now, she’s spearheading an effort to keep many of those same students working on the front lined of the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic safe.

“Being on the front lines and what we are faced with, we thought it was really important to get a product out there to help in this nationwide shortage,” Dr. Rose Ayoob, MD in Pediatric Nephrology, says.

Together, with some help from a few other strong and fierce women, these ladies are working on making masks for many area hospitals.

“West Virginians get it done, and the woman get it done right,” Ayoob says.

The masks are made from high-end furnace filters, elastic and pipe cleaners.

“Me, my daughter and Pat Rodgers spent a day making prototypes and we picked the one that Patricia made that is made out of furnace filters that will allow for some degree of filtering of this virus that cotton masks do not,” Strait says.

The organization is only on day four of existing, but already, they’ve made their first delivery of masks to CAMC Memorial Hospital.

“It’s been such a fast-growing organization and the need is constantly changing,” Patricia Rodgers says.

So, how can you help?

You can donate money, donate supplies

Or, if you can sew, donate your time.

Volunteers can pick up materials at a designated hub. Take the materials home and sew the masks, while practicing social distancing and then drop the finished masks back off at the designated location.

“We hope to do a delivery every day until we get that call that says they don’t need us anymore,” Strait says.

If you want to help, we’ve got all the information you need to know here.

As for those hubs I was talking about, there is one in Charleston, located at the Unitarian Universalists Church, Eastman Center located at 520 Kanawha Blvd.; one in Huntington, located at First United Methodist Church at 1125 5th Ave.; and the ladies are working on getting one established in Montgomery.

For information on the Huntington Hub, call Jane Morse at 740-744-7087 and to get info on the Charleston Hub, call Sarah Stone at 681-220-2352.

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