CEDAR CITY — Concerned about a shortage of masks for local health care professionals and other essential front-line workers battling the spread of COVID-19, the Southern Utah University community jumped into action.
According to a press release from SUU, staff members and student workers had made 626 masks as of April 17, with more on the way. The idea for creating the masks came from staff members in the Copy Center at SUU’s Gerald R. Sherratt Library.
“We did this because there was a need in the community and I am a firm believer in volunteering to make a better world,” Shelly Roy, the SUU Library access services assistant who first proposed the idea of making masks, said in the press release. “Our students wanted to continue working so we got them involved and they loved every minute of this opportunity to serve”
As soon as word got out, other parts of SUU’s campus began donating essential components. Library staff members donated fabric and elastic. Members of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance also donated elastic, a commodity that is now difficult to find.
“There were a few times when we ran out of material so we were not sewing any masks and it did not feel right,” said Trecia Loveland, SUU Library copy shop coordinator. “During those times it was amazing to get a phone call or a Facebook message asking if we needed more material. It is amazing to see the kindness from people in the Cedar City, Enoch, Parowan, and Kanarraville communities showing up with materials.”
With materials in hand, staffers brought in sewing machines, and suddenly the library’s copy center turned into a mini assembly line, creating a colorful palette of critically needed masks.
Once created, the masks were distributed to various community organizations and businesses: Cedar Health and Rehabilitation, local government offices, Canyon Creek Crisis Center, Smead Manufacturing, CATS Transportation, Cedar Valley Veterinary Clinic, package delivery companies, bus drivers and individual members of the community.
“We live in such a great community and this support from SUU is our way of giving back,” said Mindy Benson, SUU’s vice president of alumni and community relations. “All of us at SUU are so grateful for our neighbors who are on the frontlines serving the community during these unprecedented times.”
More masks are currently being made. Anyone who needs one, or would like to donate materials, can contact SUU at 435-865-8440.
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