Maui Coronavirus Updates

Maui Volunteers Make 5,000 Masks For Frontline Workers

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Photo courtesy: Maui Face Mask Fund.

On Friday, volunteers working with the Maui Filter Face Mask Project created 5,000 medical grade masks.

The project first began on March 25, and since then, volunteer mask makers have increased production from 50 masks per day to over 400 daily.

“If we maintain similar volunteer levels, we should be able to reach the 10,000 mask goal within the next two weeks,” project leader Jennifer Oberg said in a press release.

According to the organization, despite the leveling off of new COVID19 cases on Maui, demand for these medical-grade masks has remained steady.

“Maui’s medical professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 response continue to reach out to the mask project leaders, requesting an average 1,000 masks each week,” the press release continued.

As of Thursday, project leaders have donated 4,500 masks to medical centers and clinics island-wide, including both the Kula Hospital and Maui Memorial Hospital.

The masks have been worn by hospital staff in the Emergency Room, Dialysis, Admissions, Radiology, Respiratory Therapy, COVID-19 units, Labor & Delivery, and Endoscopy.

These dual-filter medical-grade masks have also been donated to Mālama I Ke Ola Health Center; Bayada Home Health; Care Resource Hawaiʻi; Hale Mahaolu, Kaiser Home Health, Life Save Air Ambulance, Maui Lani Physicians, as well as Surgeons, Dental Hygienist, Doulas, Hāna Medical Professionals, Hāna First Responders, Optometrist, Pediatricians, and Physical Therapists.

Leaders within the medical community on Maui anticipate demand for masks may decline in mid-May, however they would like to stockpile a supply to be prepared for any future spikes in COVID-19 cases.

Volunteer coordinator Julie MacMillian said more volunteers are needed to ensure the island is equipped with enough medical grade masks to meet the current demand.

“Volunteers of all skill levels are welcome and do not need to know how to sew. Mask making volunteers assist with cutting wire, elastic and foam; snipping, stapling, stacking materials, and quality control,” MacMillian said.

All manufacturing is done up at Seabury Hall where the team has implemented strict physical distancing protocols to keep volunteers safe and the masks clean. Volunteers are provided with gloves, scrubs, and a mask to wear while they are working.

Caroline Crumlish, one of the on-site coordinators at the Maui Filter Face Mask Project said, “the volunteer work is social with lots of safe distancing, and volunteers are even treated to a gourmet lunch! Our volunteers are some of the best fed volunteers on the island!”

Oberg, a designer dress maker by trade, attributes the mask project’s success to the wonderful spirit of the island community.

“Generous donors and enthusiastic volunteers were quick to answer my call to action. The response has been uplifting.  If not for the volunteers who show up daily to assist me, I might not have sustained this momentum.” Oberg said.

“It is also gratifying to hear our mask making efforts have been well received by the medical community, and have protected our Maui County heroes while they work to save lives during this pandemic.”

The Maui Filter Face Mask Project is 100% volunteer run and all expenses have been paid for with donations collected from the community.

“The total estimated cost to produce 10,000 medical grade masks on Maui is just over $24,500.00,” states Oberg.

So far, project coordinators raised $22,500 specifically for supplies and equipment.

An additional $1,300 in donor-directed funds has helped to pay for volunteer lunches, and served the dual purpose of supporting local restaurants and catering companies as well.

“We are grateful for the incredible support we have received for this project,” stated Kathy Baldwin, lead Fundraiser for The Maui Filter Face Mask Project.

“Whenever possible, we have reached out to our community for in-kind donations of supplies and materials. However, to keep up with the urgent need for masks and the time sensitive nature of our work, we had to source supplies from all over the country and use expedited shipping. This led to a slight cost over-run of .45 cents per mask. To break even on this noble endeavor, we need to raise an additional $2,000.”

To learn more about The Maui Filter Face Mask Project, email Kathy Baldwin at [email protected].


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