LEO, Ind. (WFFT) -- "My grandmother, she grew up in the depression, so they always had to do something with nothing."
Kathy Boles says thanks to her grandmother, that’s how she was raised, making something out of nothing.
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Something that seems necessary now.
"At least it is something we can offer the community that will give them some protection. Some protection is better than nothing."
In the back of the boutique shop she co-owns, Pinspired Marketplace in Leo, they’re focusing less on hand-crafted cutting boards and more on hand making face masks.
Thanks to panic buying, store-bought surgical masks are hard to come by these days and N95 masks are hard to find, even for medical professionals.
Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan says surgical masks and these homemade masks won’t necessarily protect you from COVID-19 such as an N95 mask will.
"The masks that you have access to protect people from you, they don’t protect you from other people," McMahan explained in early March, when she met with over 140 community leaders to discuss the impacts COVID-19 could have on our community. "Those masks are ok, but really they’re protecting everyone else from your germs."
Boles already knows this, but from working in a skilled nursing facility, she also knows people and healthcare facilities need something.
"It’s a serious situation with our elderly right now, and with knowing first-hand what we’re facing with not being able to get the supplies that we need on a normal basis," Boles said.
So she got on Facebook, found a few patterns and off she went.
She says sewing the masks are easy and only after two days, they’re already in high demand.
Boles said, "I actually had two facilities contact me on Facebook and ask for masks to be made for their residents."
Boles hopes that she can continue to help others as well.
These masks are free to the public to grab at her shop, but she's asking for donations of materials such as cotton, flannel, or felt fabric, 1/8th inch elastic bands and thread to help make the masks.
She'll also accept monetary donations to go towards the supplies to make the masks.
Another resource to make your own surgical masks, JOANN's instructional video.