Susan Williams, CEO of the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce, recently got a call from a young medical student in Franklin that called for a favor.
“He called and asked me if there was a centralized effort to identify who had pressing needs for masks and other equipment and who might fill those needs,” said Williams. “And while there is a whole lot I don’t know about, I do know that everyone is saying there is a continuing need for homemade face masks.”
That prompted Williams to ask a few area nursing homes as to their needs and the message came back, she said, that “yes, we need masks.”
“How can we take people who are producing them, like church ladies, and put them in touch with the needs?” she said. “I think we can find a way.”
One solution was offered by the Quilter’s Cupboard in Cranberry Township. Staff at the shop are sewing face masks and, depending on the fabric and style chosen, are either offering them for free or charging a nominal amount for special materials.
More to Williams’ point, though, is that the business, co-owned by Shirley Wygant and Brenda Morse, has offered to serve as a collection point.
Mask-makers may take their homemade items to the shop where the owners will match the goods with the requests from health care providers, businesses, individuals and more.
“How good of them to do this,” said Williams. “There are wonderful people all over the community making these masks for families and friends. My hope is that we can make sure some of these masks are making their way to the organizations that really have a need.”
Oakwood needs masks
“We are looking at getting 150 masks, ones with pockets for the filters,” said Lindsey Canchola, director of sales at Oakwood Heights. “We are looking initially to have them for all the staff in the building.”
The facility has a sufficient supply of the higher-tech N95 masks for all staff members.
“But while we have enough, we would love to have more of those, too,” said Canchola.
Organizations or individuals with the cloth masks may contact Oakwood Heights to arrange a drop off, she said.
“Or, they can coordinate with the Quilter’s shop. We would love to have them,” she said.