When two nurses contacted "Connecting Threads" at Powell United Methodist Church to ask if volunteers would make protective masks, the answer was "yes." Nurses in local hospitals were working 12-hour shifts with COVID-19 patients, and they lacked adequate protective masks.
Connecting Threads, a small-group ministry at Powell, meets monthly for sewing and fellowship. In early March, the request came to Nancy Tela, a member of the group. She alerted the other members. This group of about 15 women began sewing masks and hasn't looked back.
Word of this endeavor spread in the medical community, and requests for masks came from local hospitals. Masks were donated to Riverside and Dublin Methodist Hospitals, to name a few.
As the group plowed ahead, some supplies became scarce. "Elastic became gold," Tela said. "I am still waiting for an order I placed in early March." This did not stop the ministry. Ties were attached to the masks instead.
The hub of activity happened in Tela's garage. Members picked up supplies to make masks at home and dropped off finished masks to be distributed. A container of masks was delivered to the doorstep of the person requesting the items. Social distancing was honored.
Although masks are not for sale, people send monetary donations. Donations will go to Riverview International Center, which serves new American neighbors by "supporting individuals, strengthening families and nurturing communities." Riverview offers a sewing class, and donations encourage and empower the students to keep sewing.
The latest request is from day care centers. Recently, 35 masks with kid-friendly designs were made so children would be less likely to fear the adults caring for them.
Asked how this project has changed her vision of ministry, Tela said, "All of us are more aware that even making something simple for someone you will never meet, you are making a difference."
Connecting Threads has made up to 500 masks to date and continues to grow.