SOUTH COAST — In an effort to provide as much personal protective equipment as possible, reusable masks have been made available for free at city halls across the South Coast.
Coos Health and Wellness started a program last Monday that calls upon locals who sew to donate homemade face coverings. The face coverings are then brought to city hall where anyone who is in need of a mask can get one.
“Our community members that are in need can get a mask and those that are volunteers and have fabric stashes everywhere can use some of their back stash and provide a great service,” said Pam Lewis, a registered nurse with Coos Health and Wellness who is overseeing the program.
The program is in conjunction with Coos County’s Phase I reopening plan and making sure masks are available for anyone who needs one. Buckets for these items to be picked up and dropped off have been placed at City Hall in Coos Bay, North Bend, Bandon, Coquille, Lakeside, Powers and Myrtle Point.
“If you need a mask, go to your city hall, look at the bucket, get a mask for every household member that needs one, put the lid back on and send a thank you via however you can for anyone you know that sews and is doing that. It’s an honor system,” said Lewis.
“Those who can’t access a mask can get one for their family members so they can go grocery shopping or to the doctor’s office. Go where they need to go a little bit more out and about with covering on so they’re not respirating on surfaces and spreading any germs.”
The bins, donated from Uncle Randy’s restaurant in Coquille, were placed at each location with directions to wash before using last Monday. Since then, Lewis has been on a quest to make sure that these bins are filling up.
“I sew and have arm drawers full of fabric and I’m one of those people too. So they’ll chat. And when I posted on social media, this is what we need and you guys that are sewing I need you to do this for me. It’s been a little bit of a response personally that way for me so that’s cool,” she said.
“We may have some trouble with industry in our county but we have the most fabulous people that will pull together in a heartbeat. It’s fabulous.”
The program is in place to be as convenient as possible for all parties involved.
“You don’t have to ask questions or make phone calls, you just walk up to your city hall and hopefully take a mask out,” said Eric Gleason of Coos Health and Wellness.
“That whole leave a penny, take a penny approach. We want you to be able to have access to face coverings and accessible places and not have to go through a whole bunch of effort to do so.”