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Itemizer-Observer

DALLAS — The response to Salem Health’s request for volunteers to sew masks for health care workers was so overwhelming that kits sent to Dallas were gone within minutes.

Salem Health, which operates West Valley Hospital in Dallas, sent out a call for volunteers to pick up pre-made kits to sew masks on Wednesday. It designated Thursday and Friday as kit pick up days in Salem and Dallas. Each kit had supplies for 50 masks, and enough kits were prepared to make 10,000 masks.

There’s a shortage of masks and other “personal protective equipment” nationwide for health care workers due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The kits provided included surgical paper fabric and instructions for making the masks. Volunteers were asked to use their own sewing machines, white thread, scissors or rotary cutter and straight edge or cutting mat.

Pick up sites ran out of masks quickly on the first day, and Salem Health had to cancel remaining distribution days until further notice.

All of the mask-making kits were distributed on Thursday, March 26, due to the incredible response by the community,” Salem Health wrote in a statement. “Salem Health is grateful for the public’s enthusiasm and support.”

At West Valley Hospital, workers arrived with the mask kits on Thursday to a line of volunteers ready to pick them up. They ran out in the first five minutes, and spent the rest of the two-hour pick-up window telling people they were out and to watch Salem Health’s website for future mask-making events.

“It was wonderful,” said a Salem Health employee to someone who dropped by to pick up a kit, “We have a wonderful community.”

Completed masks will be dropped off on Thursday and Friday.

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