Proud to Power Mask-Making for Frontline Coronavirus Responders
How a Sewist Group in Iowa Uses SignUp to Connect Mask Makers with Frontline Organizations in Need
This week's SignUp spotlight features an amazing group of sewists doing their part to support their communities during the coronavirus crisis. Introducing Masks for the Frontlines Iowa – a group of over 300 sewists who are sewing face masks for organizations, hospitals, shelters, etc. that are battling Covid-19. We asked organizer Jess Mazour to share the group's experience and any advice she has for other groups hoping to contribute to their communities in similar ways. Here's what she had to say.
What would you like our readers to know about your organization and SignUp process?
We started Masks for the Frontlines Iowa on March 21 and, as of April 14th, we made and delivered 8,700 masks to organizations all across the state! Right now we are working on a process to partner with local sewing shops across the state to take donations and offer free fabric to our SignUp sewists. Our goal is to continue to build our network of sewists across the state that can keep sewing masks until masks are no longer needed. Hopefully, that's sooner than later!
Explain how you recruit and coordinate your volunteers.
We started a Facebook group, Masks for the Frontlines Iowa, to build a community of sewers that can easily find our current mask orders and share tips and tricks for sewing masks. We reached out to local sewing shops across Iowa to let them know what we're up to. The sewing shops have directed lots of their sewists to our group. We also reached out to local news outlets so they could help us find more people who can sew. Between these 3 things, our project has developed a life of its own!
Why did you decide to use SignUp?
Right away, we knew that in order to stop Covid-19 we all have a role to play. For some people their role is being an essential workers. For some, their role is simply staying home. For us, our role is making masks to keep our frontline workers safe. We decided to use SignUp because we needed an easy way to connect our sewists with the organizations that need masks. SignUp makes it really easy because people can SignUp to fill part or all of an order. Posting new orders is easy and the reporting features help us keep track of our accomplishments.
What’s one piece of advice you have for volunteers or their leaders out there?
If you're working on a mask project like us - pick a couple of patterns to focus on so your sewists can master those patterns and make more masks instead of learning a new pattern each time. We're focusing on the Basic Pleated Surgical Mask and the Olson. We also created a list of volunteer delivery drivers so our sewists can keep sewing instead of making deliveries.
Another thing that has been really fun is doing shout outs to sewists that are really rocking out the masks to help keep up the energy and boost morale. The SignUp reports make it really easy to identify our rockstars!
We are proud to power the GOOD deeds of the Masks for the Frontlines Iowa – we salute you and all the other volunteer groups making a difference in their communities during the coronavirus pandemic!