By Paula Ebben

NORTH ANDOVER (CBS) – With the medical community raising the alarm about running out of protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, people like a North Andover woman are stepping up. She’s making face masks and enlisting others to do the same.

“Everything is going to be shut down. Maybe this will help me keep busy and show my kids something good we can do for our community,” said Rachel Bedard.

Rachel Bedard, of North Andover, has been sewing masks for health care workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. (WBZ-TV)

And sewing is exactly what she can do. Rachel runs QT Designs, a sewing and embroidery business, out of her North Andover home. So when friends who are nurses told her they were getting just one paper mask per day to protect themselves from the virus, she sprang into action.

“At first I did 30 in a couple of hours, but now I’m able to do more. I just did 75 last night.”

She’s even made a “how-to” video on Facebook so others could join her.

“This is something easy. You can do it. If you own a sewing machine, it’s just straight stitching,” she said.

It worked. Friends started pitching in. “What’s making me be able to do it so quickly is my neighbors have really stepped up and are pre-cutting.”

The cloth masks aren’t medical-grade, but rather, are designed with a pocket where a doctor or nurse can place a paper filter. Rachel hopes that will allow them to re-use the filter for a period of time. “At the end of the night, you take your filter out and sanitize that however you can. And then throw this (the cloth mask), because it’s 100 percent cotton, in some really hot water, disinfect it and use it again tomorrow,” she explained.

It’s all in the spirit of giving back. “Thank you to everyone who is out there working in the medical field. We want to keep you as safe as we can,” she said.

Rachel and her friends have sewn more than 300 masks, and counting.

Paula Ebben


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