ALBANY — While the situation at Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany looks grim, the women of one local Baptist association are using their skills to help meet a healthcare need.
Last week, Governor Brian Kemp called in the National Guard to aid in the crisis unfolding at Phoebe Putney. Twenty-nine troops in three medical teams were called in to help relieve overworked healthcare professionals at the South Georgia hospital.
Latest numbers report that there are 647 confirmed cases in the area, with 75 patients who tested positive within the Phoebe Putney Health System. On Tuesday, the hospital reported nearly 30 deaths due to COVID-19 with 1,151 patients awaiting test results.
And among all those cases, the healthcare workers are in need of the basics, including covers for their N-95 masks.
When Mike Grenade, associational missions strategist for Dodge County Baptists, heard of the request from Georgia Sewers to make these specific mask covers, he called on the already active sewing ministry to help fill this need.
The group of 6-10 ladies has been sewing together for around five years. They’ve sent almost 900 “pillowcase” dresses to countries including Moldova, the Philippines, Haiti, and Romania. They’ve made hygiene products for needs in African countries.
So, now they’re eager to help closer to home, Brenda Woodard, Dodge County Baptist WMU team leader shared.
“We’ve had a lot [of other projects] go out just in the short time we’ve been sewing together. But we’re glad to be able to help with this project too, because we know that’s a great need at this time,” said Woodard, a member at First Baptist Eastman.
The mask covers they are sewing are made with a cotton blend fabric, and specific instructions are available online. The covers will extend the use of the N-95 masks that are in short supply since the outbreak of the pandemic but are extremely useful in protecting those who are on the frontlines.
Those who can’t sew can help by donating fabric, cutting and pinning mask covers to streamline the process, and cutting elastic, Woodard said. Another way to help is through prayer. “We just need to stay on focus and get as many done as we can,” she added.
In Dodge County, the ladies are available to train very small groups. But for most, the instructions available at Georgia Sewers Facebook page will be sufficient. Through the page, sewers will be connected with particular organizations who have needs for the covers.
And while this is particular project is based in Albany, it’s a need all over the state, nation, and world. The goal of Georgia Sewers is to get 20,000 mask covers sewn.