Contributed photo Textile artists in Rimbey are making homemade masks for at-risk groups.

Rimbey textile artists creating hand-made masks

Group has also been helped out by a local business

Rimbey textile artists are answering a humanitarian plea for fabric face masks to help at-risk groups who are more at risk of complications from COVID-19.

The request came from Parkland Beach resident Connie Kenney’s niece, who is a nurse at a hospital in California.

“She had sent out a plea for fabric face masks for at-risk groups,” Kenney said.

Kenney and her group, the Textile Artists of the Rimbey Art Club, are now sewing masks for both her niece’s request and local at-risk groups such as residents of Rimbey nursing homes.

The group consists of Kenney, Mikki Collis, Brenda White, Ana Ledeau and Louise Beierbach — who is not a regular with the group, but wanted to commit to the cause.

Kenney said the group has also been helped out by a local business. If anyone in the community would like to donate funds to the cause, they can contact Rimbey Craft ‘N Chat, which has offered supplies to the group at a discounted price.

Kenney said the idea started small and has snowballed into a bigger project. She hopes the group will be able to provide masks for anywhere in the community that has a need, especially for people caring for seniors and at-risk groups.

The group checked with a local nurse who said, currently, supplies of N-95 masks used for health-care workers fighting COVID-19 are adequate, and the system is not asking for the less effective fabric face masks at this time.

As a result, Kenney and her group are only approaching people caring for the elderly and at-risk groups.

“Our local efforts will include a senior’s lodge and at-risk groups. At this time, hospitals are not wanting them, as they have a good supply,” Kenney said.

Kenney cited Canadian infectious diseases specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, who recently said homemade masks made from cotton or anti-microbial pillow cases may offer some protection against the virus.

“If we’re talking about people who are looking after elderly parents or elderly people as personal support workers, and you need a mask and you can’t get one, there are lots of different ways that you can make your own mask,” Sharkawy told CTV.

Kenney said the group is working day and night.

“It is so great to be able to help. People are wondering how they can help and it is great that we are able to try to help flatten that curve,” she said.

Kenney added she was inspired by a quote from Canadian physician Dr. Bruce Aylward, who said, “It’s a societal duty to work together with common threats. It’s the population of Canada who will stop this disease.”

She added, “When this is over, the world will never be the same.”

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