The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have been disastrous for many, taking an especially large toll on healthcare workers. People worldwide have been pitching in to address the crippling lack of supplies hospitals have been facing. Within our own Penn State community, one organization has joined in this effort to provide homemade protective masks for their local hospitals.
Days for Girls is a global non-profit organization that provides reusable menstrual pads and menstrual health education for women and girls worldwide. Penn State has its own chapter of Days for Girls, where members typically sew menstrual pads and assemble reusable menstruation kits.
While Days for Girls continues its efforts to provide menstruation kits, the coronavirus outbreak has led the organization to use existing materials to sew protective masks. Volunteers will sew both menstruation kits and masks, because “periods don’t pause for pandemics and many stores are already running low on pads and tampons,” the organization says.
Days for Girls’ “Masks4Millions” campaign allows volunteers to sign up to receive instructions for sewing protective masks at home to donate to hospitals, doctors and nurses.
Noelia Ortiz-Landazabal, a junior majoring in political science and African studies, is the former president and founder of Penn State’s Days for Girls Club.
Ortiz-Landazabal told VALLEY that club members with access to sewing machines and fabric are encouraged to reach out to their local hospitals and find out the facilities’ current needs. If masks are requested, they can then sign up with Days for Girls to receive instructions and patterns to create them. Most sewers then donate the masks to local hospitals or give them to doctors and nurses in their area.
Days for Girls’ current efforts and the “Masks4Millions” campaign “has been awesome,” Ortiz says. “This initiative is worldwide, but we’re doing our small part.”
With a goal of providing millions of masks for hospitals globally, the “Masks4Millions” campaign has encouraged 70,000 sewers worldwide and other volunteers to get involved. Even if you are unable to sew, people are encouraged to donate to support this effort.
While the coronavirus has crippled so much of society, it has also shown some of the best of humanity. As millions of people mobilize worldwide against this common enemy, it is a reminder that we are so much stronger when we stand together in support of one another.