Shanon Basl making kits

Shanon Basl is one of the volunteers helping to put kits together to be sent out to members of Tri-County Mask Makers.

BROCKPORT — When Angela Vasbinder first began making masks, she wasn’t planning on it becoming a full-time volunteer operation across the Tri-County area.

When she first started making masks, she was only making them for her family, then saw a larger need. Vasbinder began Tri-County Mask Makers as a way to help make masks for the greater population.

“I wasn’t really looking to do this. I wanted to help, but I wasn’t sure what to do.” Vasbinder said

She found some care facilities in the area that aren’t high priority for new supplies. Workers and residents both are given peace of mind by having these masks. Vasbinder said most of their donations will be going to local nursing homes. She has also had some home health aids reach out to say they would really appreciate some masks as well.

The group was just 25 members when Vasbinder posted about their mission to the DuBois Live page on Facebook. Just a day after this post, the group had grown to 40 members.

Vasbinder said she made the Facebook group to organize volunteers who could sew, and keep everyone updated on the timeline of materials being delivered. She will also be using this page to coordinate picking up the completed masks.

“A lot of people have donated fabrics,” Vasbinder said. “We’re asking people to put their donations on the front porch in clearly labeled packages for minimal contact.”

Lowes has also donated three rolls of Tyvek to their cause for use as a filtering layer. Vasbinder got the materials on Thursday. She and some helpers were going to be pre-cutting all the material so it could be put into kits for easier assembling by the volunteers.

She is using a traditional rectangular style face mask pattern because they are the easiest to complete in a timely manner. More contoured masks take more time. “The more contoured ones take a lot more time, and we’re just trying to get as many out as possible,” Vasbinder said, adding that she was hoping to have the kits done and distributed to volunteers by Saturday.

“I was amazed at the response from Lowes. I figured Lowes would be difficult to go through because of it being a corporation,” Vasbinder said. “That’s a lot of Tyvek, that’s a lot of masks. We’re going to have a lot of masks that we can get made.”

The group has many volunteers from the DuBois area, but also from Brockway, St. Marys, and all over the Tri-County area. Vasbinder is trying to work with local businesses to set up drop locations, but if she has to she will travel around to collect everything herself.

She is hoping to have the first bunch of kits finished and ready to be picked up sometime next week. Vasbinder has asked anyone joining the group be able to sew and work from their own home.

The group can be found on Facebook as Tri-County Mask Makers. If anyone is interested in helping or in need of masks they can contact Angela Vasbinder on Facebook as well.

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