Tuscaloosa County COVID Sewing Team repairs N95 masks

Volunteers help to increase amount of masks

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa County’s COVID Sewing team is coed. Both men and women are among those sewing new elastic on to masks like this one so first responders and others in their community can use them.

“It feels really good to know I’m helping and pitching in and helping the first responders,” Carol Caffee told WBRC.

That’s how the retired teacher and long-time sewing enthusiast described using her talents to help others. She’s part of a team of volunteers who make up Tuscaloosa County’s COVID Sewing team.

“We have volunteers, people with big hearts, in our community who have come out and started repairing N-95 masks,” Tuscaloosa County EMA Director Nick Lolley explained.

They are replacing the worn elastic from 19,000 N-95 masks donated by the Alabama Department of Public Health so that they can be worn now in the fight against coronavirus. They started sewing new elastic on the masks last week.

Since then they’ve repaired 4000 of them that can be used now.

“We have to keep our front line people, our police officers, our hospitals, our fire fighters our nursing homes we need to keep those people healthy,” Lolley continued.

The COVID Sewing team started with just two people. Now it’s grown to 16. Caffee started sewing her own clothes at the age of 13. She’s one of many protecting people in her Tuscaloosa County community from the spread of coronavirus.

“You never know when you’re going to need that skill to contribute to our community,” Caffee continued.

Lolley said they’re looking to expand the number of people on the sewing team. That could include having some people also do this through the city of Tuscaloosa.

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