Texas Filipinos turn sewing hobby into a mask-making mission

HOUSTON, TX — Amid the coronavirus pandemic, health care workers are not only fighting to save their patients, but to also make sure they have enough personal protective equipment, or PPE’s.

Hospitals, overwhelmed by the surge in patients, are burning through their supplies of protective gear at an alarming rate.

All across Houston, the urgent need for masks is being fulfilled by a number of Filipino sewers, called to duty in a matter of days via social media and word of mouth.

Their skills no longer thought of as mere hobby.

Their living rooms and kitchen tables have been turned into workstations to make masks for frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus.

Eds Pineda has made over 100 masks so far, with more being ordered from her every day.

“Nag decide ako na mag tahi ng facial mask dahil, na cut na ang hours naming sa trabaho at kailangan din ng extra income and also para maka tulong din sa iba,” she said.

“I decided to sew facial masks because our hours were cut at work and we also need extra income. We also want to help others.”

Unable to find masks for her own family, Filipino sewer Faith Gonzalvo said she had to do something.

“So far, I have made close to 50 masks, and my goal is to make about 100 before I donate them somewhere. We have a lot of friends in the Filipino community who are very active in collecting these donations.”

Though the homemade masks do not meet the n95 standard, they can still provide medical workers with some layer of protection.

“I started making ties out of the same fabric. Actually, I like these better because you are able to customize the fit and make them as snug as you want them, by tying them in the back.”

Like millions of other Americans, Leah Liboon was laid off from her job at Marriott Hotels amid the pandemic.

And so she learned how to sew masks.

She even took it one step further and began creating other types of protective equipment.

“I also make a face shield, along with decorative ones, just to help give a good vibe during this crisis.”

Some sewers said they sprang into action when the centers for disease control and prevention recommended that everyone should wear masks in public.

They also heeded the call on social media — with healthcare workers asking for people to donate any masks, goggles or other equipment using the trending hashtag #GetMePPE.

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