- People are sewing masks and face covers to send to people in need and essential workers around the US.
- One New York woman turned her love for crafting and creativity into a solution for healthcare workers who struggle with discomfort caused by face masks rubbing against their ears.
- Insider spoke with the creator of the clever headbands, Hayley Alden, who has made hundreds of the headbands to give to workers locally and around the US.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
People around the US are sewing face masks to distribute to essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – and for many, it’s an act of kindness, as well as an approachable way to take initiative.
Some people are even creating face coverings out of socks, scarves, and other fabrics for personal use, to help preserve coveted medical PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare workers.
Hayley Alden, a 22-year-old from Victor, New York, had a similar idea to use her love for crafting to help medical professionals in need of equipment.
After hearing that one of her boyfriend’s relatives, a nurse, had sores and scratches behind her ears due to wearing a face mask for about 12 hours a day, Alden knew she wanted to help, she told Insider.
Along with her boyfriend’s mum and grandma, she created a solution: a headband that could help alleviate some of the discomfort.
The accessory contains two buttons sewed onto a plain elastic headband. The buttons, rather than the ears, hold up the face mask, making it a bit more pleasant for doctors, nurses, and other workers wearing the coverings for hours at a time, let alone all day.
“Through trial and error, we came up with the way the buttons can be placed and the way it can sit comfortably on everyone’s head,” Alden said. “So we made 10 or 20 of them to share with local nurses, and I thought, ‘Why not just post something on Facebook for anyone in the area who wanted them?'”
After receiving positive feedback locally on Facebook, Alden put a call on Twitter on Saturday showcasing the headband design and offering to send the accessories to healthcare workers, or to people who knew essential workers, for free.
Over the course of four days, Alden received thousands of messages on Twitter of people requesting the headbands.
Each headband costs about $US2 to make, and shipping usually costs around $US1. So far, Alden has raised $US5,000 – both from people in her community and from Twitter users, who are donating to her Venmo username.
“It truly feels like we’ve bought every headband they have at Walmart, CVS, Target, and local drugstores,” Alden said.
She estimated that she’s made about 200 out-of-state shipments of the accessories, with the headbands reaching 25 states so far. Alden said that with the help of Facebook and online forum Nextdoor, her team of sewing helpers now includes 13 volunteers in her town.
In addition to the clever headbands, each package Alden and her group of volunteers ships comes with a handwritten message of encouragement.
“The original message [we wrote] was, ‘We’re here to help in any way that we can,'” Alden said. “We just want to thank everyone in the medical field, whether you’re sitting at a desk or are working for 12 and a half hours a day.”
While Alden catches up on hundreds of headband shipments, she’s taking a hiatus from new requests for the time being. However, she said that people who want to help – whether it’s by re-creating the accessory design for themselves to donate to local organisations or workers, or by thinking of a creative solution of their own – should know that seemingly small projects are more important than ever, and they don’t always require expensive supplies or resources.
“Lending a hand to anybody during this time helps,” Alden said. “It’s amazing that something that seems so little really does go a long way.”