VALLEY SPRINGS, SD (KELO) — A self-confessed “fabric-hoarder” in South Dakota is doing her part to help hospitals and clinics restock their supply of protective masks. This Valley Springs seamstress has a hobby that’s benefiting medical workers around the country.
Brenda Murtha is just finished sewing her 300th cotton mask. It’s a labor of love she’s been doing for the past three weeks.
“You basically take it one step at a time. I try to do 20 at a time, it goes a little bit faster that way,” Murtha said.
Murtha’s masks can be both fashionable and functional.
“Here’s one that is a more casual mask, goes over the ears, like this and you just have kind of a curved seam in front. The main thing is to cover the nose,” Murtha said.
Murtha has already sent her masks to hospitals in Ohio, California and New Mexico. Now she’s hearing from local hospitals in need of adding to their own supplies.
“I got the call from Avera and they do have their N-95 masks still in stock, they’re just trying to conserve those as much as they can,” Murtha said.
Murtha says she’s sewing masks to help health care workers. But the project is also therapeutic for her because it takes her mind off the pandemic.
“When I can actually, physically do something to help out it just takes my anxiety and my fears, I’m doing it for me, too,” Murtha said.
Murtha retired five years ago as Augustana’s director of financial aid. She was hoping to resume her career in education by starting a sewing school, but those plans are on hold because of the pandemic. Now she’s urging others who share a love of sewing to join her in the mission to mask health care workers.
“The more people we can get on the ground pumping out masks, the better we are,” Murtha said.
Murtha is part of a national group called Seamstresses in Service. Members can help you get started sewing your own masks. Click here