Nyack Mask Makers, the volunteer-fueled sewing circle that has created and distributed over 12,000 cloth masks in Rockland County, has thrown their hat in the ring for a statewide video competition. Wearamask.ny.gov invited New Yorkers to submit a Public Service Announcement (PSA) promoting mask wearing. Submissions were made by posting a 30 second video on social media on May 15 that tagged @GovernorAndrewCuomo.
The top five videos will be posted and New Yorkers can vote for their favorite. The winning video will be used as an official wearamask.ny.gov PSA
Nyack Mask Makers co-founders Donna Timm and Bill Batson continued their collaboration in this cinematic direction. The two Nyack-based artists joined forces on March 20 to support Montefiore Nyack Hospital meet the demands of the approaching COVID-19 pandemic. “We knew that the federal government had been caught flat-footed and had expressed no urgency in getting Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) to frontline heath care workers,” Batson said. “Donna and I realized we had to call up the creative cavalry.”
Working from materials and templates approved by Montefiore Nyack Hospital President and CEO Dr. Mark Geller, the pair managed to connect over 100 sewing machines in two weeks to deliver 2,000 masks. Since then, over 200 donors and another 200 makers have supplied masks to over 40 front-line institutions fighting the pandemic including nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, fire, ambulance, and police departments, child care institutions, schools, food banks, and other vital community service organizations.
In partnership with Village of Nyack Mayor Don Hammond, the group has provided over 2,000 masks for residents. “We are a small town, where neighbors look out for one another on a regular basis. We knew if people had access to masks, they would wear them. What better way to help your neighbor than to wear a mask?” said Timm.
For Timm, the most exciting part of making the video was getting to see the face, albeit, masked, of the makers. “When we asked for photos, I figured we’d get a few. We got over 200. We could only use 50 for the video, so we are teaming up with Kris Burns to make a slide show so that everyone can meet the mask makers,” Timm said.
For Batson, the thrill was in the collaboration. “In our town, in one day, we identified a talented young film maker, Alex Sarvide, a perfect spokesperson, Mario the Maker Magician, and a sound engineer, Kevin Lacy. The video was completed in four days. We certainly hope we win and believe we’ve made a world-class video, but locally, we need content like this to keep up our social distance vigilance. It is a fact, that more masks mean less spread of COVID-19,” Batson said.
Nyack Mask Makers are hunkering down for a long hard winter. “The experts suggest the overlap of a pandemic and flu season could over-burden our health care system…again. So we will maintain production to build a stockpile and refine our distribution system. If needed, the Nyack Mask Makers will be ready to deliver,” Batson said.
For information on volunteering or contributing, visit NyackMaskMakers.com
Ray Wright, Christine Gritmon and Bonnie Timm