Meet the Arizona Oakford Outreach Mask Sewing Team
My sister was one who saw opportunity and decided to use the time she had at home to dust off her sewing machine and, as she said, “just start sewing cotton face masks”. She wanted to sew for healthcare workers in the area who had no PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
She inspired me to do the same in Arizona and that is how the idea was born to request Oakford Outreach Grant funding. The goal for the project has been to invite volunteers to create home-sewn masks for Arizona healthcare workers in facilities most in need.
The masks are designed to cover N95 masks to prolong their use, or to simply provide some level of protection for workers with no face coverings available to them.
Due to the generosity of Oakford Outreach Project funding, an Arizona team was quickly formed and able to start sewing the first week in April. By Easter, we had delivered 400 masks to six eldercare facilities, including Sr. Gemma’s community of San Rafael Dominican Sisters in California.
In the glow of the Easter resurrection scripture accounts, the inspiration came to check the need of the Native American tribal peoples around Arizona, and I quickly found the need was great.
The first group I contacted was through the Consolata Sisters, who live twenty miles east of Florence. They work on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Sacatan, Arizona. We made a delivery of 270 masks to “The Caring House” the day after Divine Mercy Sunday and Sr. Josephine joined our sewing team!
We soon managed a system for our geographical spread - Sheila coordinates the seamstresses in Mesa and we meet weekly at the Florence Junction (a 30-minute drive for her and 20 for me) and we exchange materials and finished masks.
Sheila dropped off the masks to the eldercare facilities in Mesa. Sr. Josephine and I meet weekly to do the same. I order materials (and the volunteers donate fabric as well) and I have delivered or mailed masks to the Reservations.
The system is working very well and we are very happy to be sending off the final shipment of our 700-mask commitment to an Apache Indian Hospital in Northern Arizona tomorrow!
As of today, I have contact information for two more Native American Tribes in Arizona and will make contact once we have “masks on the shelf” to mail or deliver (that should be later this week). We remain united in prayer and very grateful to have access to OOP (Oakford Outreach Project) grant funding to be able to participate in this very meaningful project!
Peace be with you,
May 17, 2020
Sr. Lynn Allvin, O.P.
Oakford Outreach-Project Coordinator