With COVID-19 having been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation in March, many health workers and hospital staff around the world were struggling to obtain enough personal protective equipment (PPE).
The situation was no different in Noosaville, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. But when Dr Wilf Newman, who is a member at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Noosa and works at Noosa Hospital, put out the call for masks, fellow Good Shepherd member Jacky Ainsworth was keen to help.
Jacky’s neighbour June Lynn had already begun making masks, and the pair set out to ensure they could meet appropriate safety standards and developed a small production line. Two other neighbours helped, taking roles cutting donated material and sizing lengths of elastic. The quartet, self-dubbed the Heritage Drive Maskers, supplied 30 masks for hospital staff initially and then a further 100 about a week later.
Over the next three-and-a-half months, the small team from the ‘close-knit neighbourhood’ made approximately 1520 masks, which have been supplied free to family members, friends, neighbours and local organisations and businesses, from fruiterers to physiotherapists, taxi drivers and disability services. Through word of mouth, the colourful masks have filled PPE needs as far afield as Papua New Guinea.
Jacky says the project ‘was a great opportunity to be of service to the community’.
‘I’ve always had the opinion that you help wherever you can and this was just a great opportunity to get in there and do whatever I could’, she says. ‘It certainly took the whole of our lockdown time – it just flew because we were so busy.’
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