When the COVID-19 virus hit Georgia full force, personal protective equipment along with basic sanitizing supplies became impossible to find. What little was available became reserved for medical personnel leaving the average civilian with very little options. Even before the recommendation came down from the White House and the CDC on April 3, many Americans dusted off their sewing machines. They ran to their local hobby and craft store to pick up the necessary supplies to make their own face masks.
COVID-19 has brought out some of the worst in humans with them acting selfishly like the toilet paper hoarders but it has also brought out some of the very best in humans. The United States has always been able to rally in times of adversity. Corporations are switching their factories over to making medical supplies. However, those supplies are earmarked for use in hospitals leaving the general public vulnerable.
This is where people like Samantha Lopez, her daughter Cynthia Lopez, and Allie Bloodworth come in. They have been burning the midnight oil making masks for those in need. Each of them started out making masks for family members who needed them and from there they saw the need skyrocket within the community. They decided to put their skills to good use and help fill the need for personal protective equipment in their local area.
Cynthia who is a freshman at the University of North Georgia suddenly had time on her hands after her classes were canceled as her major of Photography doesn’t allow for online classes and she was laid off from her waitressing job. She urged her mom, Samantha, to continue making masks even after they made masks for their family members.
“In the beginning, I was only donating to healthcare workers,” Allie said. “At a certain point, I couldn’t find any more elastic so I posted on Facebook and the Nextdoor app offering to make masks for anyone for free who could donate elastic or fabric for me to make more masks for healthcare and essential workers. The response was overwhelming. Everyone has a grandparent or someone they care about who is especially at risk to COVID-19. People were desperate for some type of protection out in public.”
Some of the facilities Allie has donated to directly include Northside Hospital, Gwinnett County Public School bus drivers, Tapestry House Senior Living, City of Griffin employees, Georgia Baptist Children’s Home, Northside Gwinnett Extended Care, and Chick-fil-A.
Samantha and Cynthia posted only a few times on the Nextdoor app asking people if they needed masks and they too saw an overwhelming response from people looking for them. Samantha and Cynthia have never asked for money for the masks but they said people started donating money which they have put back into more materials to make additional masks.
Between mother and daughter, the Lopez’s have been cranking out approximately 400-500 masks a week. When they are ready to distribute the masks, they have posted on the Nextdoor app letting people know where they are going to be located. Samantha said that they will park in a parking lot in Sugar Hill and people are able to drive by to pick up masks.
Samantha said the first time she arranged a distribution spot, it was in the Sugar Hill Publix parking lot. “Over 20 cars were lined up waiting on us to get masks,” Samantha claimed. “When my daughter and I got out of our car and set up shop, people started cheering for us. It made us feel so good.”
Samantha, Cynthia, and Allie are just a few homemade heroes who have put their sewing skills to good use making masks that could very well save lives. Men and women across the country are busy making personal protective equipment. Corporate America has even joined in to help the cause. Joann’s Fabric and Craft Store has been giving away bags of supplies to those who were making masks for others.
A huge heartfelt thank you to Samantha, Cynthia, Allie, and all the others out there trying to keep America safe and healthy! We applaud your efforts!