EXTON, PA — State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, and her staff organized a volunteer effort to create cloth masks for community organizations in need. To date, the volunteers have made and donated more than 1,000 face masks to nursing homes, senior living facilities, personal care homes, and fire and ambulance companies in the 155th Legislative District.
Otten said the idea to help came from a Facebook post she saw written by a volunteer at a senior living facility in her legislative district stating that they were in urgent need of masks. While the facility’s requests for personal protective equipment for its medical staff were filled through the county, Otten and her staff contacted the facility and learned that they needed 500 cloth masks for residents, volunteers and non-medical staff.
Otten’s outreach events coordinator Sarah Heil immediately began mobilizing volunteers to fill the facility’s request, as well as calling other organizations in the district to determine who else may be in need. Through social media and personal contacts, Heil connected with the Chester County chapter of Sew for PA, a group formed in recent weeks to sew face masks for essential workers.
The Sew for PA group quickly filled the order for 500 masks for the senior living facility and now has 200 more in the queue to be delivered to the East Brandywine Fire Co. Heil also recruited 12 volunteers from the Coldstream Crossing Retirement Community, who have sewn and donated more than 500 masks so far. An additional 10 individual mask makers have each contributed between five to 104 masks.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude for our community,” Otten said. “In just four weeks, the volunteer teams and individuals that Sarah reached out to have sewn and donated more than 1,000 masks to seniors, caregivers, frontline workers and first responders in the 155th Legislative District, plus hundreds more for facilities elsewhere in the county.
“We have connected with senior living residences, emergency services and food pantry volunteers across the district, and thanks to our amazing volunteers, we have several hundred more masks on the way to fire companies and health care facilities.”
Through the efforts coordinated by Otten’s office, masks have been donated to Freedom Village in West Brandywine Township; Exton Senior Living in Uwchlan Township; Meridian at Eagleview in Uwchlan Township; French Creek Manor in Phoenixville; Spring Mill Senior Living in East Pikeland Township; Miss Kitty’s Care LLC in East Pikeland, Phoenixville and Spring City; The Spirit of Gheel in West Vincent Township and Spring City; Steel Town Village, Bard Complex and Flag House in Phoenixville and Spring City; Kimberton Fire Co. in East Pikeland Township; Lionville Fire Co. in Uwchlan Township; Liberty Steam Fire Co. in Spring City; and the Spring City Food Pantry in Spring City.
Otten noted that masks are on the way to East Brandywine Fire Co. in East Brandywine Township; King Terrace in Phoenixville, Fairview Village in Phoenixville; and St. Mary’s Franciscan Shelter in Phoenixville.
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