Every day, Jennifer Frank is hard at work behind her sewing machine in her East Rockaway home, making masks for frontline workers in need.
“I used to make denim bags, but once I noticed this pandemic kind of take flight, I just switched my mode from sewing pocketbooks to starting to sew masks,” Frank said. “I looked at a tutorial online, and after about a day or two, I got the hang of it.”
Frank creates cotton masks with elastic ear straps as part of the Moms Making Masks Facebook group, and members of the community donated much of the material after Frank requested supplies. The Manhattan-based Blueberry Boulevard donated 2,500 yards of elastic to the cause. Through the Facebook group, she met another village resident, Lauren Franklin, who helped spread the word on social media to get Frank more volunteers. Now there is a group of people who wash and cut the fabric for Frank, some who help her sew, and others who drive to local hospitals to drop off the masks.
They are donated to Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital in Oceanside, NYU Winthrop in Mineola and several rehabilitation centers.
Initially, Frank said, it took her some time to finish a mask, but now she can crank out up to 40 per day.
“Five days ago, it took me a whole day to figure it out, but now I like to work making six at time, and it takes me about two hours,” she said. “It’s about 20, 25 minutes per mask. I’m really so proud of them because they’re so pretty.”
After her initial announcement on social media, Frank said, donations came pouring in from the community, including gas money for her delivery drivers and elastic and fabric to make the masks.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity and how much people really want to help,” she said. “It really just takes a village to make this all happen. I never would have been able to do something of this magnitude. It’s really overwhelming to see how everybody comes together here. We have some really great people here.”