Healthcare workers in Western North Carolina and across the nation are working tirelessly to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, many at the risk of their own health. Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves are desperately needed, and many companies and individuals have stepped up to meet the demand by making and donating equipment.
Angie Ballard, Director at Mountain Home Care, has done her part in providing PPE for not only our MHC caregivers, but for our community and beyond! Early on in the outbreak, Angie realized that MHC was going to face the challenge of not having enough PPE. That’s when she decided to buy a sewing machine and begin sewing masks. “I’m not a seamstress, but I found a pattern and started to sew,” says Angie. “It was a bit involved at first, but fortunately after a few attempts I began to figure out what worked best for me. And my skills are slowly improving!”
Angie’s masks for MHC staff were added to masks donated by Mud Creek Baptist Church and a member from Arden Presbyterian Church. She then went on to make masks for her husband Stephen, a retired Marine who now works as a NC licensed recovery agent, and his colleagues. When individuals who are out on bond fail to appear for their court date, Stephen and his co-workers locate and retrieve them. Unfortunately, the majority of the people they encounter are at high risk for COVID-19, due to being in and out of the prison system, so masks are essential.
Once she finished the masks for her husband’s team, she sewed even more for the family and friends of her youngest daughter who work in grocery stores.
And now she’s going even further — Angie is currently working on a new pattern to sew masks for Lutheran World Relief, who will distribute them to health care workers in Africa and other developing countries.
“I’ve made about 50 masks so far, but I’ve ordered more supplies online and am hoping to make many more as my supplies arrive,” she says. “Unfortunately, I am afraid they will be needed for quite a while.” She adds, “While this pandemic has been so very tragic and heartbreaking, I don’t think I have ever been so grateful and proud to be a nurse!”
If you’d like to join in the efforts to provide health care workers with PPE masks, you can follow the patterns Angie is using here and here. She insists they’re not too difficult. “Take it from me,” she laughs, “if I can put these together, anyone can!”
We’re very thankful for Angie and her efforts to keep our staff, our community, and our world safe!