Sew Many Ways to Help!

by Dave Wagner, Public Affairs Volunteer

When Vikki Hunt saw the request for Red Cross volunteers to support a local feeding program back in April, she initially jumped at the chance to pitch in. That’s just the way she is – always ready to lend a hand. But as news of the pandemic continued to mount, just like the rest of us, she began to have questions. All of the evidence was suggesting, at least for her, it would be wiser not to join in public gatherings – no matter how noble the motive.

Not one to sit idly by, Vikki came up with a plan that enabled her to contribute to the cause but also remain socially distanced. She decided to use her sewing skills to make face masks to keep her fellow Red Crossers safe and well.

“As a child,” she related, “I was always sewing. I made most of my own clothes. So, I got out my old sewing machine and got to work.”

First she made masks for her immediate family – including her three children and eight grandchildren. She used old t-shirts and whatever material she had on hand. Next in line was the local Red Cross workforce.

Due to the pandemic, Vikki was having trouble finding appropriate yardage for the next batch of face coverings. A small amount of material was eventually found online and she immediately ordered it all. “But it was weeks before the order arrived,” lamented Vikki, “and I was getting very discouraged.”

With the proper materials finally in hand, Vikki quickly set to task. Her finished products were eagerly snapped up by the local Red Crossers and put to immediate use. Luckily, just as she used up her first batch of yardage, there was a rebound in the supply chain and obtaining suitable materials was no longer a problem.

Vikki originally earned her Red Cross credentials volunteering during the 2017/18 Thomas fire and the subsequent debris flow in neighboring Montecito. She made some valuable connections with her community during these disasters and continues her involvement.

“A couple dozen of us here in Santa Barbara have sewn more than 1,000 masks for the Red Cross and local first responders,” said Vikki. “Our group also assembles clear plastic face shields for critical service workers.”

With the pandemic looking like it is not going away anytime soon, we are very thankful to Vikki for using one of her many skills to support the Red Cross.

Your time and talent can make a real difference in people’s lives. Our need for volunteers is constant and continues to evolve as we navigate this health crisis. Volunteer opportunities include supporting blood donations and delivering much-needed services to your community. We even have a wide variety of remote (work-from-home) opportunities available. To find a Red Cross volunteer opportunity that is just right for you, click here.

Americans are increasingly adopting the use of cloth face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the latest science may convince even more to do so. The Red Cross asks everyone to follow CDC face covering guidelines in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

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