by Bill Batson
On March 4, 2020, Business Insider warned that US medical workers needed 3.5 billion face masks if the coronavirus reached pandemic status. The country had 1% of that number then.
On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Organized by Donna Davies Timm and Bill Batson, Nyack Mask Makers is a community project providing masks to doctors, nurses and staff at Montefiore Nyack Hospital, as they serve Rockland County, New York, during the increased patient activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic until national resources (the cavalry) arrive.
Donna draws inspiration from her mother, who left her home in Dubin, Ireland during World War II to work in a sewing factory in Lincolnshire England. Timm, President of the Nyack Art Collective, is answering her generation’s call to battle, this time against COVID-19, and like her mother, provisioned with a sewing machine. Timm has helped launch this crowd sourced sewing circle that can produce up to 500 masks per week for Montefiore Nyack Hospital.
Donna and I realized we needed something flash mob sized…but with socially distant participants, to help blunt the local impact of the severe scarcity of medical supplies in our country. I knew Donna and several members of her family from my first Flash Sketch Mob in 2012. Nyack Mask Makers is also a Timm-family affair, with daughter Bonnie and husband Bob building websites and organizing outreach respectively. With a few Facebook posts, emails and phone calls, Nyack Mask Makers has connected 40 work stations in 4o homes across the region. With some guidance from Montefiore Nyack Hospital, we can make Level 2 masks that will help relieve stress on our life-saving health care system.
“We give our profound thanks to the Nyack Mask Makers and the amazing community in Nyack and throughout Rockland County who are rallying behind the Hospital’s dedicated staff and supporting the critical work that is being done to serve our community,” said Mark Geller, MD, President & CEO of Montefiore Nyack Hospital. “Your generous donations of food and supplies are inspiring and deeply appreciated. Your efforts and support are being received in the same spirit in which they are being given. Thank you.”
Donna’s support for the hospital is deeply personal. “It has been just under 5 years since I was a patient myself at Nyack Hospital with Stage 3 Breast cancer. I literally owe my life to the outstanding medical staff at Nyack Montefiore Hospital. I am incredibly fortunate to be in the position to assist Bill Batson and organize the Nyack Mask Makers. I am honored to give back a token of my heartfelt appreciation in this way,” Donna continued.
Our prototype mask was reviewed by the Infection Preventionist at Nyack Montefiore. We provide participants with a template pattern, materials list, elastic and arrange pick up & delivery of completed masks.
If you’d like to learn more about our efforts, visit nyackmaskmakers.com.
For additional information about supporting Nyack Mask Makers, please email Donna Davies Timm at Donna@nyackmaskmakers.com
All other inquiries regarding this project, please contact Bill Batson at Bill@nyackmaskmakers.com.
Let’s FLATTEN THE CURVE! Stay home, stay safe, and support our health care workers.
Nyack Mask Makers include:
Mary Ann Gray
Kathleen, Glenn, Sera and Reilly Maier
Anne Marie Mot
Maria Luisa Whittingham
I launched a GoFundMe for Nyack Mask Makers to support our production material costs.
We have 40 participants in our Flash Sew Mask Mob and a goal of making 500 masks per week.
The materials we need are elastic, fabric and ziplocks.
For $100, we can get elastic for 500 masks.
For $10 we can get enough fabric for 15 masks.
We are looking for anyone who lives in the greater Nyack area who can operate a sewing machine. If you know anyone who has a sewing machine or several, please direct them to this site at NyackMaskMakers.com.
The Quilt Tree in Nyack will be providing fabric and materials via curbside pickup or mail to our volunteers . The Quilt Tree will hold special hours specifically for this project, Wed-Sun, 11-3pm.
Monetary donations to The Quilt Tree will help defray costs for volunteers. Please call or email Lisa at the Quilt Tree during the store hours above to make a donation: Phone: 845-353-1501
An artist and writer, Bill Batson lives in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Nyack Mask Makers” © 2020Bill Batson. Visit billbatsonarts.com to see more.