Sewing Soldiers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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Community comes together to make face masks

By Kaitlin Holley

Not all heroes wear capes. Most wear masks.

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Due to COVID-19, nurses and healthcare workers are in high demand and short supply, and at present, there has been a shortage of masks for essential workers to wear.

That’s where Atmore resident Bub Gideons comes into play.

Gideons formed a team of mask makers to help in the shortage.

“It occurred to me that with all that was going on with the reports and the supply shortages we needed help,” Gideons said.

Gideons began to Google and look for ways to make safety masks. After researching, he decided to rally the troops and volunteers around town.

“We have about 15 different people that are working now on these masks” Gideons said.

According to resident Dawn Skipper, “It really came up on Facebook and Bub Gideons was the ring leader on the mask project. He started organizing it, and included invites and I saw one of the posts, and it advertised for anyone that can sew to come on and help out.

“I haven’t been sewing long, but I figured I would help where I could and nurses told me that they were making them between shifts, so I told them to just give me the fabric and I could do them,” she said.

Skipper said she’s been working non-stop and has already made more than 120 masks.

Resident Mandie Thompson, one of the mask organizers, said, “the need is to make sure that gas stations, pet stores and all local businesses have face masks or have what they need. We have gotten together sewers and materials for the masks, and we have volunteers that have came together and have given time, materials, and money towards these masks.”

Sometimes needing help is the perfect opportunity to give help and that is just what locals decided to do.
“We expanded our mask models and they are 100 percent cotton and are pleaded so they stretch out to the size you need them,” Gideons said. “We have 200 masks already and have 400 masks in production.

“As a result elastic is needed, some of us are reverting to headbands and they are extremely difficult to use when using a sewing machine,” he said. “So far we have delivered to urgent care, nursing homes, Atmore hospital and we plan on delivering to even more places. These masks are reusable and you can wash them and hang them up to dry.”

Gideons added that Pepsi Bottling Co. of Atmore donated material for the masks.

“I just want to say how thankful I am to the Atmore community for coming together during this time and creating these masks that are so important. The community has taken over like fire and we are so happy for the little Christian ladies that know how to sew and I am proud of every single one of them for taking their time,” Gideons said.

According to the Centers of Disease Control, people should wear a facemask if they are sick when around other people and before entering a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. If you are not sick you do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick. Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Those who want to donate or volunteer can contact Gideons at PHD Realty, located at 1812 S. Main St., Atmore.