Locals sewing masks, making sanitizer for medical practices

A shortage of masks and other protective gear for medical personnel and first responders amid the spread of coronavirus cases has sparked an effort here and nationwide for individuals to make and donate fabric masks, booties and gowns.

Helping Hands in Berkeley Springs – Let’s Sew is one such effort. Organized by Berkeley Springs resident and business owner Jules Rone, the social media “event” has shared templates for medical masks and mobilized donations of fabric, elastic and other sewing supplies.

“Right now the world is in need of medical masks, booties and gowns, and we can actually make these while we’re at home social

A collection of fabric masks made as part of a local effort, “Helping Hands in Berkeley Springs – Let’s Sew.”

Lisa Darsch with the hand sanitizer she made for the Morgan County Health Department.

distancing,” Rone posted.

Rone’s store, Jules Enchanting Gifts, has been the drop-off point for supplies that are being donated for those willing to sew the masks.

The masks will go to local medical practices, War Memorial Hospital and whoever else needs them. Organizers said hospital workers expressed a need for mask covers, which could prolong the life of the medical masks they do have.

“I know of one local medical practice that definitely needs gowns and booties, and I’m sure there are more,” Rone said.

The public event can be found on Facebook along with patterns. Rone can be reached through her website or social media pages.

Other local people have said they are sewing masks for medical personnel as a backup to the national supply and for those in the community who need them to go out.

Clinics ask for masks

Area medical practices have put out a call for anyone able to sew masks.

Staff at Tri-State Community Health Center this week posted on social media that they had received a donation of fabric masks from a staff member’s mother in McConnellsburg, and were looking for any additional masks that people could sew. The health center has a template they hope to post online.

Tri-State also asked if hardware stores, contractors or painters had extra N95 masks they could donate to the medical offices. Tri-State has clinics in Hancock and Berkeley Springs. Melody Stotler can be contacted at 301-678-5187 ext. 230 or by email at for more information.

A shortage of publically available hand sanitizer for public health nurses sparked Lisa Darsch to make containers of the sanitizer for the Morgan County Health Department staff.

Darsch, herself a nurse, said she reached out to the Health Department nursing staff to see what she could do to assist them. She said she found out that nurses there were making their own hand sanitizer in the evenings since they could not buy it and the state supply was lacking.

“They are buying the supplies with their own money to keep themselves safe,” Darsch said.

The recipe for hand sanitizer includes grain alcohol, aloe gel and essential oils for scent. A local liquor store kept her notified of shipments of the grain alcohol so she could get that part of the recipe. She bought aloe gel online.

“It was easy to do and everyone helped,” Darsch said.

She has urged elected officials to release more supplies for those in the medical field to protect themselves so they can continue to treat patients.

“Give them the much needed supplies to protect themselves and others. We are a nation of bounty. We need to spread our supplies to all areas of the country now,” said Darsch.