WEATHERFORD – In response to the shortage of masks for healthcare workers during COVID-19 outbreak, a Weatherford Christian School student decided to make her own masks and donate them to those in need.
WCS ninth-grader Tylie Sabbatini and her family have facilitated the delivery of almost 500 masks, Sabbatini’s mom Amy Bearden said. This includes ones that they have made themselves and the masks that they have inspired others to create.
WCS is currently running a “Masks of Mercy” donation drive for people to donate materials for Sabbatini’ to make masks from, like elastic and fabric, or money for the purchase of materials, WCS Director of Missions and Advancement Courtney McKeown said. People can donate materials at a drop-off box by the WCS gymnasium front entrance.
Bearden said using Facebook and word-of-mouth, they have provided masks to medical professionals and immunocompromised families. People in other parts of the state have reached out as well to receive guidance on mask distribution.
“We get requests daily,” Bearden said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be reconsidering public use for masks, as before it was recommended that they be reserved for healthcare professionals or the sick. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a radio interview with WABE in Atlanta that the previous guidance was “being critically re-reviewed, to see if there’s potential additional value for individuals that are infected or individuals that may be asymptomatically infected.” He mentioned high-rates of transmission from infected people who are not showing symptoms as a reason for the review.
Bearden said masks could end up being needed for everyone.
“Next door neighbors and grocery store workers, we all need to do our best to take care of the health and wellness of the country and the county and the state,” Bearden said.
Sabbatini said making the masks is easy, and they take her about five to 10 minutes per mask to complete. She has been sewing on a sewing machine since she was 8 years old and enjoys making theatrical costumes.
“Being able to put together different pieces to make a costume and bring characters to life is a lot of fun,” Sabbatini said.
Working together for the good of the community is important at this time, Sabbatini said.
“We really need to help out because if we don’t, then we’re going to have to rely on other people and doing that can just cause more chaos and nothing good,” Sabbatini said. “Everything will just collapse on itself if we don’t try and help each other.”
WCS has been supporting the community by donating school lunches that are unused since school is closed to Center of Hope, Meals on Wheels, Hearts Full of Love, among others, McKeown said. In distance learning classes, WCS students are being encouraged to be of service by writing letters to nursing home residents, friends or neighbors. Needs are being communicated amongst the WCS community so those interested can get involved to help.
“It’s just very important that we teach these kids to love their community so when they grow up and hopefully come back someday to raise their kids here, that they’ll remember what we did as they were growing up, and then they’ll, in turn, pass that passion on to their kids,” McKeown said.
McKeown said Sabbatini is awesome, and McKeown is proud of how she’s using her talent to help others.
“That is our complete and sole goal with our kids,” McKeown said. “God gives all of us unique abilities and gifts and how we use those gifts to serve others, and so we are extremely proud of Tylie. It’s fun to see the kids kind of step out and think on their own, ‘What can I do to help and serve.’”
To get involved in the project, visit the Masks of Mercy Facebook page for more information.