Do you know how to sew but you’re not sure how to help amid COVID-19? Here is a list of local groups working to get masks to health care workers, the unhoused and community members in Lane County.
The Seamsters was founded by Holly Moline Simons on March 13, and within the first week, the group already had 1,100 members. The Facebook group makes homemade masks for health care providers during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Besides sewing, the group has drivers and distributors, and it works with other groups in the community to help give masks to healthcare providers, Simons says. The Seamsters are in Eugene and Springfield and have more than 2,300 Facebook members. The Seamsters’ masks are provided free of charge to health care agencies and organizations in the area.
According to Simons, the group has given more than 19,205 masks to more than 40 health care providers, including the Oregon Medical Group, White Bird Clinic, Cascade Home Health and more. With the help from The Seamsters, health care workers can extend the use of their medically approved masks by covering them with the washable cotton masks being provided through The Seamsters.
For more information about The Seamsters or how to get involved with volunteering see Facebook.com/groups/seamster or Seamsters.org/frequently-asked-questions
University of Oregon Office of Sustainability
The University of Oregon Office of Sustainability works with community partners throughout Lane County and have been working with The Seamsters. In mid-March, the Office of Sustainability did a brief survey of the community partners’ and saw the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health care workers, Briana Meier says. Meier is a graduate employee at the Office of Sustainability and a doctoral candidate in environmental studies at the university.
The university group has committed staff resources to support COVID-19 relief efforts both within the student community and grassroots relief efforts in Lane County, Briana Meier says.
The Office of Sustainability and The Seamsters have created an online survey for those who would like to request masks for a healthcare organization, donate, or volunteer. The office is coordinating volunteer drivers for pick up and delivery of masks from peoples’ homes to health care facilities.
For more information about UO’s Office of Sustainability or how to get involved with volunteering, please visit, Cpfm.uoregon.edu/office-sustainability-covid-19-community-support or call at 541-346-2299.
House Everyone is a partnership of unhoused and housed activists in Lane County advocating for safe and affordable housing for all. The organization has partnered with White Bird Clinic to make medical-grade masks. The campaign was initiated by Tom Peck, an advocate for House Everyone. White Bird supplies the surgical fabric for a group of volunteers working with House Everyone coordinated by Peck.
The purpose of the initiative and partnering with White Bird is to help the unhoused protect themselves from the coronavirus. Masks are available for anyone who requests one, but Arlo Silver, the Office Manager at CAHOOTS, urges people to check other avenues before requesting a mask as many of White Bird’s clients do not have other options.
For more information about House Everyone email HouseEveryoneEugene@gmail.com. To become a sewer for the White Bird Clinic, sign up at Whitebirdclinic.org/apply-now.
Emerald Valley Quilters
Facebook group Emerald Valley Quilters has a long history of working on community service projects in Lane County with groups like the Mission, CASA of Lane County, and more. Cheryl Brewer, a retired nurse, works closely with the quilters to ensure masks are being made for health care providers.
Emerald Valley Quilters has a lot of retired nurses and is connected to the Oregon Nurses Association, Brewer says. Brewer and other members started to communicate with local and state leaders to find manufacturers that could step in and provide manufacturers who could make sustainable PPE. Overall, the group estimates a total of 6,000 masks have been made and will continue to help in various ways that become available.
The group has been collaborating with the UO Office of Sustainability, The Seamsters and the Oregon Nurse Association to quickly produce masks, distribute and drop them off where needed.
For more information about Emerald Valley Quilters, see Facebook.com/groups/92008165259.
Marley’s Monsters is an eco-friendly shop for baby products that are usually considered single-use. Marley’s Monsters has made more than 2,500 masks for health care workers in Eugene with the help of a local sustainable transport company, Arcimoto. Marley’s Monsters shipped a portion of those masks to medical professionals across the country, including Los Angeles and New York, the group says.
The business is working with Eugene 4J schools as well as county and city officials to provide masks locally, Jeremy Parker says. Parker is the marketing leader for Marley’s Monsters.
For more information about Marley’s Monsters or to purchase a mask, see MarleysMonsters.com.
The University of Oregon Duck Store
The University of Oregon Duck Store has started a donation drive to help the Facebook group The Seamsters and the Technical Science Administration Machine Shop at the UO. The university store has given both groups an allotment of $2,500 and will give more as donations come in, the website says. As of April 28, the shop has produced 900 face shields, which have been distributed in Lane County and throughout Oregon. The face shields can be sterilized and reused and with new donations, it will make it possible to continue production for those in need the press release says.
To make a donation, visit UODuckstore.com/covid19donation
Cards from the Heart
The Eugene Emeralds, Kendall Auto Group and Heritage Distilling Company have come together to create a service for community members to make heartfelt thank-you cards for healthcare and essential workers. On May 6, from 1 to 6 pm and on May 7, from 10 to 3 pm, Cards from the Heart will host a blood drive and a diaper drive for Relief Nursery. The event is at the Moshofsky Center and the parking lot off Leo Harris Parkway. The cards will be distributed to essential workers at local hospitals and grocery stores.
For more information about Cards from the Heart, email Anne@EmeraldsBaseball.com.