Brock employees step up to help fight COVID-19

After working from home all day, some Brock University employees are trading their computers for sewing needles, continuing to work late into the night.

While Brock is doing its part to help with the fight against COVID-19 through ongoing research and the donation of supplies, some members of the University have stepped up to support front-line workers in their own ways.

Alison Innes, Social Media Co-ordinator for the Faculty of Humanities, noticed American crafters making masks on social media a few weeks ago. When her sister, a doctor in the U.S., asked Innes to sew a mask for her, a personal project began.

Along with other health-care products, N95 masks are in high demand. To help alleviate the mask shortage, fabric masks are being made to be used in community or low-risk settings to free up N95 masks for health-care workers who are exposed to COVID-19 patients.

Pictured here as some of the masks sewn by Alison Innes.

Innes signed up for Masks for Heroes, an organization which matches sewists with American organizations in need of masks. Her first batch of 25 masks will be sent to a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C. later this week.

“I feel personally that there is value in doing this,” said Innes. “It’s not only about the finished mask and whether or not it saves a life. Creating community and supporting others in need is so important at this time.”

To help make masks, whether to donate or for personal use, join Innes’ Microsoft Teams virtual sewing circle, ‘Sewrgite.’ The group shares tips, information and links to help each other sew and find materials online. Email ainnes@brocku.ca to join.

Max Holten-Andersen, Media Resource Co-ordinator for the Department of Visual Arts, is also contributing to the cause. He’s using a 3D printer to create face shields which will be donated to the Department of Social Services at the Niagara Region. Once his first batch is complete, he plans to continue making the face shields for those in need and is taking requests at mholtenandersen@brocku.ca

Josh Sekel, Senior Project Manager, Enterprise Solutions, answered the call for help after reading a recent Brock News story about how the Makerpace is getting on board.

“When I saw the article that there is a local demand for 3D-printed face shields, I decided to volunteer my time, equipment and materials to help,” Sekel said.

From home, he is creating the face shields using a design from Sweden. Already owning the 3D printer, all he needed to make the masks was a three hole punch and a pair of scissors. To date, he has delivered 25 face shields to a local credit union for their front-line workers and will have another batch ready to go this week.

Masks and face shields aren’t the only items Brock employees are creating.

Sandy Howe, Associate Director, Experiential Education, is creating care kits to donate to local hospitals and its extensions, like local paramedic stations.

“I am so grateful for the front-line workers who are keeping things going, people safe and well, and putting themselves at risk,” said Howe. “I know it will go a long way in making the workers feel valued and cared for.”

Filled with health and wellness products like immunity boosters and protein shakes, Howe’s goal is to donate 100 care kits to the community. If you’re interested in helping, Howe can be reached at howesandy@hotmail.com


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