Operation Face Mask Protects City Mission Residents

City Mission Residents poss with their new cloth face-masks

“Operation Face Mask” - A Request to Sew City Mission Face Masks - Goes Viral and Produces Thousands of Masks for over 70 Organizations

When City Mission staffer Sue Gartland called professional quilter Melanie Scott to ask if the Martha Washington Quilter’s Guild could make masks for City Mission residents, she answered yes without hesitation.

“I was just sitting around home like everyone else, watching the news and feeling depressed,” she reported. “But I kept thinking about our healthcare providers. My Mom is a retired phlebotomist, and I couldn’t imagine her drawing blood without access to protective equipment. The same for nurses and everyone else taking care of other people. So I decided to try to get some friends together and see what we could do.”

Two City Mission Staffers show-off their new protective cloth face-masks
Sue Gartland and Sally Mounts try out their cloth masks

Melanie invited 100 people, both sewing enthusiasts and recipients, to participate with the project. Among the first people she reached out to were members of the Martha Washington Quilters Guilt, who had sewn beautiful, handmade quilts for City Mission’s Crabtree-Kovacicek Veterans House 22 beds.

“I was floored,” she said. “Everyone responded and shared, then those people responded and shared, and it just went viral.”

Melanie’s 11-year-old daughter Rowyn named the group “Operation Face Mask” and her husband Christopher began packing and labeling the masks that started flowing in from generous sewists. To date, the group of 70 has made and given out over 3,500 masks to 70 facilities, entirely free of charge.

I was just sitting around home like everyone else, watching the news and feeling depressed,” she reported. “But I kept thinking about our healthcare providers. My Mom is a retired phlebotomist, and I couldn’t imagine her drawing blood without access to protective equipment.

“The growth of it has really taken me by surprise,” said Melanie. “We hoped to make a few for doctor’s offices, just to contribute. “Now we’ve given hundreds and hundreds out—to Washington Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, area nursing homes, just all over.”

And City Mission?

“We received a hundred masks form Melanie’s group, and were we ever grateful!” said City Mission’s Chief Development Officer Dr. Sally Mounts. ”We passed them out immediately to our residents. We’re getting another hundred next week.  It’s just extraordinary what Operation Face Mask has done to stem the tide of COVID-19, for us and everyone else.”

“It’s so easy to forget the goodness in the world,” said Melanie. “Then something like this happens, and you see everyone coming together. I’m so grateful for the team, and all the sewists. They’re amazing.”

Organizations needing masks can be put on a waiting list at Operation Face Mask by emailing OperationFaceMaskWashCoPa@gmail.com and talking to Melanie or Christopher Scott, or by calling them directly at 724-356-6253. They can also join the Facebook Group “Operation Face Mask, Washington County.”

April 19, 2020
Susan Gartland - Social Media Manager
Sue Gartland
Social Media Manager
Sue has a vast career in gospel rescue missions adding great value to the City Mission team. Sue has been in many roles in the mission and is always filling in where she is needed - which is A LOT!
sgartland@citymission.org

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