MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) -- The whir of a sewing machine is a common sound in many Wisconsin households right now. Shelby Pape starting making masks five days ago. She's already put together 70 of them.
One of the patterns Pape is following can be used by many, "we are using this a lot in home health care, nursing homes, fire departments, police departments," she explained.
Pape is part of a Facebook group called "The Masked Sewists for SE Wisconsin." Members post "how to" videos, words of encouragement and pictures of all their hard work. Pape told us, "it helps to feel good, to feel like you have a purpose. Sewing has always been my therapy."
Donica Lintner started this effort. She owns Log Cabin Sewing Company in Butler. People come to her store to learn how to sew. Lintner saw the need for masks and reached out to her customer base, then took it one step further with the Facebook page. "We're at over a thousand members, just since Thursday," Lintner proudly shared.
Her business is one of six drop off points for finished masks. When we caught up to Lintner, she was sorting the newly donated ones.
"It makes me get tears in my eyes. It's just one more reminder of the helpers that are out there."
This group is focused on smaller facilities that are lower on the list for PPE. Group homes, home health care agencies, nursing homes. They are hearing from some workers that are using bandanas as face masks to get by. "They don't have any, or they've been stolen, or for the love of the project have donated the medical equipment they gave to front line workers..those are the people we need to get to."
And they are trying. The requests are nonstop. Through their work, these volunteers have found a community on social media. Making an isolated time, less lonely. Lintner pointed out, "when it comes right down to it, there's just love for people all around. It's just all about love."
This group is accepting mask requests from four counties: Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha. If you don't know how to sew they need drivers to drop off masks and people to cut and iron fabric.
You can also donate supplies. If you want to help, you can reach out through the Facebook page.