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Supplying 100,000 Masks, Community Supports Johns Hopkins All Children’s Amid Pandemic

Posted on May 25, 2021

An image of masks illustrating that 100,000 have been donated to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has enjoyed broad community support since its founding in 1926. That support has adapted to changing times for nearly a century. Among the latest incarnations of community support is the donation of masks in response to the coronavirus pandemic. And the community responded in a big way, recently passing a milestone:

100,000 masks donated.

Face coverings became mandatory on the hospital campus in spring 2020 as part of the response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) supply lines were challenged by the steep increase in demand, so finding supplies of masks for both clinical and non-clinical settings was paramount.

The Volunteer Resources Department immediately took on a mask donation project with the support of Anita Jimenez from Community Health and Wellness and Mari Heida from Support Services. 

“Masks were almost impossible to find when the pandemic first started,” says Ranetta Sumner, volunteer resources coordinator at Johns Hopkins All Children’s in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Since our campus-based volunteers could not be here, we were asked to change our scope of work and implement a plan to secure mask donations from the community.

“We learned very quickly that we needed someone who understood sewing. This is where Anita Jimenez came in with her sewing expertise, so we could get a pattern design and specifications to give volunteers. In some cases, we needed to supply the materials and special medical-grade Halyard fabric (known for its ability to block aerosols and droplets, including water, bacteria and other particles) that could be used for masks within specific medical areas of the hospital.”

In order to kick-start this project, the volunteer resources staff reached out to their community volunteers (those who assist the hospital, but not on campus) who have donated handmade items, like baby caps and quilts. They also reached out to campus-based volunteers, who couldn’t come to the hospital for their regular assignment due to the coronavirus. They also asked other groups and individuals in the community to help.

“We transitioned from our regular volunteer program to this project very fast,” says Angie Kaczor, volunteer resources coordinator. “In the beginning, we had to take the material and patterns to the volunteers because no one wanted to leave home. We also went back to pick up the finished masks as needed.”

Getting the masks distributed throughout the hospital was a team effort. The Halyard masks were distributed by the Supply Chain Division, while the cloth masks were distributed by the Child Life staff.

“A heartfelt thank you to all who stepped up to their sewing machines for all of us,” says Kimberly Berfield, vice president of government and community affairs for Johns Hopkins All Children’s. “Achieving this number of donated masks reflects how the community rallied around us at a time when resources were very limited and we needed to keep patients and families safe.”

Prolific Donors

Below is a list of those who donated over 500 masks during the past year.

Medical Masks of Pinellas – 13,747
Ellen Streich – 3,370
American Legion – 3,277
Brooke’s Cases – 3,252
St. Pete Sewing Masks for COVID-19 – 3,147
Doris Green – 2,006
Louise Leonard – 1,500
Heather Lamont – 1,143
Edna Hastings – 1,100
Dee Allen – 1,059
Mary Hannon – 959
Cathy Soucy – 893
Labor of Love – 869
Jean Mullins – 858
Janice DeMeza – 777
Stephany Debosz – 696
Elena Hoel – 620
Sew and Sows – 612
Jenny Russell – 597
Rosanna Lastra – 555
B. Sheridan – 523
Debbie/Audrey Flores – 502

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