Becca Hoffmann of Falkland has started sewing masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic to help fulfil Personal Protective Equipment shortages felt across the Valley. (Contributed)

North Okanagan woman sews masks amid pandemic

Masks offer sense of safety and people need that now, says Becca Hoffmann

A Falkland woman is spending her time in self-isolation sewing masks for those who may need them.

Becca Hoffmann is a stay-at-home mom who has always been handy with a sewing machine and with more than 20 years of sewing experience under her belt, it made sense to make masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic to help alleviate the shortages of personal protective equipment.

“In just two days, I had requests for more than 30 masks,” Hoffmann said, after only starting the project around March 23.

The masks, which take around a half hour to complete from start to finish, are not of the same medical grade as the N95 masks worn by medical professionals, but it’s better than nothing, Hoffmann said.

“I’m naturally inclined to help people and this gives me a feeling of purpose in a very unsettling situation,” she said.

Hoffmann said these unprecedented times have caused her to feel anxious, but having this project has helped her focus on something that makes her feel useful.

“I feel as though I can’t sit idly by when I have the skill to help,” she said.

In a recent visit to a store, Hoffmann noticed the cashier was wearing gloves and a scarf as a makeshift mask.

“I felt so badly, I immediately went home and made him a mask,” she said. “Nobody deserves to feel frightened at their work.”

“Even though cotton masks are not as effective as an N95, a small decrease in risk (of exposure) is still something.”

The masks are made with a high-count cotton-poly blend fabric outside layer and flannel-lining interior. They are form fitting with a quarter-inch or half-inch-wide sewing elastic. Hoffmann said those interested in donating materials to be used for masks should turn to Facebook.

A group called Medical Mask Making – Okanagan is a recently created forum and it is the hub for those interested in donating materials or sewing their own mask projects.

She said she is also looking for others who can sew.

In a social media post, Hoffmann called out to fellow sewers and her post has since been shared more than 120 people. She said her post has reached Facebook users from the Sunshine Coast to Ontario.

“The masks give people a sense of safety,” Hoffmann said. “And I think that’s huge right now.”

Hoffmann said there are a lot of user groups and organizations that can use free masks, such as seniors homes and care-aid workers.

“Friends, family, neighbours, people on your streets… I’m sure all these kinds of people would be thrilled to receive free masks.”

READ MORE: Vernon women spending quarantine making masks

READ MORE: Police, fire rally for Vernon hospital workers amid COVID-19


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm man reported missing by RCMP has been found unharmed

Ken Derkach apologizes for having caused anyone concern

Preparations for flooding in the Shuswap accelerate

A sandbagging machine and a crew to run it have been set up in Silver Creek.

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

From mouldy attics to giant wasp nests, Shuswap home inspector shares surprising finds

Salmon Arm’s Brad Campbell assembling photo gallery of disturbing discoveries

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

District offers safety tips after cougar spotted near Lake Country school

The animal was seen on a walking trail near Peter Greer Elementary Saturday morning

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Similkameen winery co-owned by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C.’s provincial health officer is part of the original ownership group of Clos du Soleil in Keremeos

Emergency crews rush youth to hospital after quadding accident in West Kelowna

West Kelowna Fire Rescue’s new off-road vehicle was used in the rescue

Shuswap History in Pictures: Floodwater food run

A young boy rows through Sicamous’ streets during the 1972 flood.

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Most Read