Neighbors answer nurse’s call for help making homemade face masks

Neighbors answer nurse's call for help making homemade face masks

San Antonio, – A shortage on face masks has some medical staff getting creative with ways to protect themselves if supplies run out.

Jill Folkert, a nurse practitioner at Texas Oncology, asked people who know how to sew on social media help make face masks for her and her staff.

“We were told yesterday to come up with inventive ways of making homemade masks in case it gets really bad,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has relaxed the use of masks for some providers when they are not available.

According to the CDC website, homemade masks such as bandanas and scarfs can be used for the care of patients “as a last resort ... Caution should be exercised when considering this option.”

Folkert said her plea for help was well received.

Tanya Taylor and Kim Gonzales figured it would be an excellent way to teach their kids several lessons: how to help others, how to sew and the reality of what’s going on in the world. With the supplies they already had at home, they got to work, and they quickly got the hang of it.

“Nobody knows what to do, but this is the best thing we can do,” Taylor said.

They got the directions on how to sew face masks from an Evansville, Indiana, hospital website.

Staff members at the hospital posted the directions and a video. Their communications office said the positive responses have come from around the world. They urge people to make the masks for anyone who’s in the front line of the pandemic, even homeless shelters.

The masks can be washed and sterilized by most hospitals.

Gonzales said it’s not a difficult task and would encourage families to use it as a homeschool lesson.

“It’s gotten fairly simple. If our third, fourth and seventh grade girls can do it with guidance, I think anybody can do it,” Gonzales said.

Call the hospital or medical facility you want to make the masks for to make sure they will take them.

In a few hours, the neighbors had about 20 masks made, and that’s not counting the masks other neighbors were making.

Folkert says she’s grateful for her neighbors and friends.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.