Businesses and workers in the Lake Geneva region have new protective face masks, thanks to a church group working to control spread of the coronavirus.
Members of the St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church’s Parish Altar Society have made about 2,000 protective masks for Brunk Industries, Open Arms Free Clinic, Geneva Manor nursing home, and others.
The Lake Geneva church group began making masks in mid-March, and delivered its first batch to Brunk Industries in Lake Geneva.
Members of the altar society make the masks at their home, then drop them off at the church.
Toni Meyerhofer, one member of the altar society, said she has enjoyed being involved in the project and helping people during the public health emergency.
“I’m just so grateful to have something to do,” Meyerhofer said. “I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nurse. But I can help, and people are very grateful.”
Debbie Miller, another altar society member, said she made about 75 masks while she was furloughed from her job.
“It made it real easy to make a lot,” she said.
St. Francis church member Martha Cucco said the group will continue to make masks as needed or requested in the community.
“We got a lot of essential workers covered,” Cucco said. “Other people need to wear masks to stores, so there’s a huge demand.”
The altar society also plans to make masks for the church’s ushers when St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church reopens for public services.
Joanne Gasperik, an alter society memmber, said she got the idea for the project from a quilt research group, and she then asked her fellow society members to become involved. She said the group is seeking more volunteers to help.
“We never say no when someone asks if they can help,” she said.
The group produces the protective face coverings with cotton fabric and elastic bands that they have purchased from local businesses or that have been donated.
“People have given me fabric, because they know I sew,” Meyerhofer said. “They say, ‘I don’t sew anymore. Can you take it?’”
Gasperik said the masks have two to three layers of fabric, with a nose wire for people who wear glasses. There is no set design or color scheme, but she usually sews the word “love” into her masks.
It usually takes her about 20 minutes to make one mask.
The church volunteers have made masks for friends, family members and people who they contact with on a regular basis.
“The FedEx man comes, and the FedEx man has gotten several masks,” Gasperik said.
Meyerhofer said she is disappointed when she enters a business and people are not wearing face masks, especially when masks are available.
“A lot of people are not getting it,” she said. “It’s an unfortunate attitude.”
Get local news delivered to your inbox!
Subscribe to our Daily Headlines newsletter.