TDHS Face Mask Volunteers

More sewers needed to help stockpile face masks

A small army of volunteers has begun making as many face masks as they can to help Timboon and District Healthcare Service (TDHS) and the community through the COVID-19 pandemic.

With staff and visitors now required to wear face masks on site, the demand is high and TDHS is calling on anyone who has the time, and can use a sewing machine, to help.

Community engagement officer Sabine McKenzie said volunteers, community members and TDHS had come together for the project. She said it was well underway with more than 100 face masks completed in the first week – a fraction of what would be required.

“This is about our community coming together to keep our community safe, which reflects our mission statement ‘working together for a healthy community’,” she said.

“We want to make sure we have enough face masks to get through to the other side of this pandemic and supplying our staff and volunteers with washable masks means we won’t use our disposable ones as quickly.

“Our priority is to have enough for our staff and active volunteers on the frontline so that they can cycle them through the wash at 60 degrees every day.

“Once this goal is achieved, and I’m sure it will be, then we’ll be making surplus masks available for members of the community who are unable to make, or buy, their own.”

Mrs McKenzie said the Timboon Op Shop had donated $500 to purchase new, suitable material for the inside of the masks and elastic.

She said THDS had a good supply of blue sterilisation wrap sheets used in the operating theatre which provided two waterproof layers on the outside of the masks.

“We have a pattern we need people to follow to make sure they are all the same and all effective against the transmission of COVID-19,” she said.

“Everything is supplied and the volunteers who have started making them are getting into a good rhythm and finding it quite therapeutic to sit down and make a few.

“It’s a wonderful thing to do and yet again another example of all of us working together for a healthy community.”

Mrs McKenzie stressed that TDHS needed to stockpile enough to meet its own needs first and would advise the community when that milestone was reached and surplus masks were available for community members.

“There should be no cost to keep our community safe, so once we have enough for TDHS we will begin distributing them to the community at no cost.

“For those who can afford it, a kind request will be made for a gold coin donation which we’ll collect for a nominated Australian charity, but this will be optional.

“As this pandemic continues, the important thing is that everyone in the community has equal access to transmission prevention and we’re committed to that with this project.

“We already have a fantastic team of TDHS volunteers and community members on the job, but we could use more sewers.”

Anyone wishing to join the project is encouraged to contact Mrs McKenzie by calling TDHS on 5558 6000.

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