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Galesburg seamstresses make protective face masks for local healthcare workers

They plan to deliver the first round of home made masks to Galesburg area nursing homes.

GALESBURG, Ill —  TwoGalesburg women are using their seamstress skills to help local health professionals. 

Alicia Empson is the assistant manager at the Galesburg JOANN Fabrics, and said she knew she needed to do something to help when her best friend told her about the personal protective equipment shortage nationwide.

"I've worked in health care all my life, but I love to sew, that’s one of my passions," Empson said. "She called me and asked 'do you know people that can sew?' and I`m like 'yeah, I work at a fabric store, I have a lot of people here that can sew." 

"We all work together, we like to help our community," homemade mask maker Dotti Bettis said."They support us, we have to support them. We need to protect our medical field that our taking care of us."

 Alicia recruited 20 friends to help her make the masks. So far, they've made more than 250. They plan to give around 150 masks each to the nursing homes in the area.

"Do I think it's going to help at a hospital on the front lines? No, but healthcare workers that are being told to get a bandanna or wear a scarf, these masks are going to protect them," Empson said.

They are following a mask pattern recommended by the CDC. They hope to make 1,000 masks.  

"If we get 1,000 and they need another thousand, I'm sure there will be people there to help us with open arms," Bettis said. 

"Until the need is over, this is not something that is going to go away," Empson said. "Nobody should be asked to where a bandana or find a scarf."

They plan to deliver the first round of home made masks to Galesburg area nursing homes.