FORNEY, Texas — In cases where N95 face masks are not available or in short supply due to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic, some healthcare providers are beginning to turn to homemade, sewn face masks.
Two sisters, 11-year-old Piper and 7-year-old Brooklyn, of Forney, Texas, are doing their part to fill that void.
Both girls are learning remotely during a school district closure to help combat the spread of COVID-19. One of Piper's assignments during her at-home learning was to do something with the family that did not involve the use of technology.
"They see how much nurses and doctors are apart of our life because their baby sister has a kidney disease," Aerial Hunsaker, the children's mother, told inForney.com. "So, when they see an opportunity to give back, they jump at it."
The girls set their eyes on Medical City Dallas, where their sister is a frequent patient, and with a goal of sewing 60 face masks.
Hunsaker says the girls have been excited about hitting their goals and being able to help healthcare personnel, like they've helped their family.
"We hope that our masks will help people feel better and get over this virus," the girls said.
Hunsaker says the girls will continue to make face masks for other hospitals, home healthcare nurses or personnel, and anyone who may be able to benefit from them.
As for the at-home, remote learning, the girls have enjoyed doing their school work in their PJs and video conferencing with their fellow students.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends healthcare personnel use of face masks with an N95 respirator to filter out most airborne particles however, at facilities at contingency or crisis capacity, measures, including the use of homemade face masks, are being considered. Those using homemade masks are also recommended to use a face shield, according to the CDC.
"Our girls have done an amazing job at staying positive through this whole new experience," Hunsaker said. "We know there are other kids doing amazing acts of kindness and we want them to know that it's being seen and it's appreciated."
The girls story is not unlike many being told across the world as governments, healthcare providers and facilities, and individuals are struggling to buy N95 respirator masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
At a time when global manufacturers, industrial and auto factories, and even local furniture begin re-tooling their equipment and training their employees to begin production of PPE and homemade masks — Piper and Brooklyn are doing their part.
Piper is a student at Forney Independent School District's Smith Intermediate and Brooklyn is a student at Crosby Elementary.