Project Mask is ‘sew’ appreciated

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Red Cross Volunteer Susanne Newswanger sews face masks to help keep DAT responders – and their clients – safe and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Red Crossers know how to pivot in disaster. Since the dawn of the Covid-19 crisis, the Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) has done just that – now most calls are answered virtually.

But when a DAT member mobilizes to answer a call in person, these days, they must wear a mask. So when members of the DAT team sent out a call for masks, other members of the Red Cross team responded in kind – this time with needle and thread. Thus, Project Mask was born with the following call to action: ‘”Sew” the Disaster Action Team how much they are appreciated.’

“So far, 59 DAT members requested masks, and 43 members have volunteered,” says Peggy Pinarbasi, Disaster Workforce Engagement Manager. “It has been a wonderful way for our people to feel connected to the cause and continue to contribute their time and talents. It reminds people of the early days of the Red Cross when volunteers would knit and sew garments for people.” 

Peggy also praised the collective leadership for the project calling it a “team effort.” Susanne Newswanger serves as the subject matter expert, and Cyndi Stanfield plays a major role in the ongoing development of the project.

Americorps member and Regional Workforce Engagement Coordinator Janet Solis coordinates the mask distribution from her home. “Teamwork is making this project possible,” she says. Last Thursday, Janet celebrated the sendoff of the first shipment of masks to DAT team members. As of press time, Red Cross volunteers have sewn more than 500 masks, and 224 have been shipped to DAT members.

Go, Team!

Become a Red Cross Volunteer: You can make a difference by becoming a volunteer with the American Red Cross. Volunteers constitute about 90 percent of the total Red Cross workforce to carry out our humanitarian work. Red Cross volunteers are trained to meet the needs of those affected by disasters, providing food, shelter, and comfort for families affected by major disasters such as fires, floods, and earthquakes as well as helping local residents prepare for and recover from emergencies of all kinds. We’ll find the position that appeals to you and allows you to use your skills and talents. Get started by going to this web page.