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Group of volunteers in New York sews thousands of masks for rural Alaskan villages

Posted at 2:34 PM, Feb 12, 2021

Last April, we introduced you to a group called “Operation Sewing Squad.”

At the time, there was a shortage of personal protective equipment (P.P.E.) So, several hundred local volunteers joined forces to sew thousands of masks for first responders across western New York.

Today, you can get face coverings just about anywhere. That’s not the case for parts of Alaska, and that’s where Operation Sewing Squad comes in, once again.

According to project organizer Deanna Douglas-Knapp, the group was contacted by a doctor in New York City who was originally from a small Alaskan village and knew the difficulties the area had getting PPE.

“They don’t have any healthcare access. It’s a four-hour plane ride to a hospital. They don’t have drinking water. They don’t have sewer systems. But, they have COVID-19, and many of these rural villages had 40, 50, 60 percent positivity rates,” Douglas-Knapp explained.

To date, Douglas-Knapp said the group of about 35 volunteers has made 13,000 masks for 54 Alaskan villages. “These people needed help and the people of western New York rallied to help a neighbor but not a close neighbor.”

Click here to donate to Operation Sewing Squad.

This story was first published by Ali Touhey at WKBW in Buffalo, New York.