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Local Moose Lodge provides masks to community

Marsha Butler, secretary/bartender manager of Lafferty Moose, sews new masks Thursday afternoon in Lafferty. The masks will be donated throughout the community to help those in need. T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM

FLUSHING — A group of local residents is giving back to the community one stitch at a time. Members of the Lafferty Moose Lodge are making fabric face masks to help first responders and hospital staff remain safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marsha Butler, secretary and bartender manager of the Lafferty Moose Lodge, said the members are just trying to do their part for the community.

“We have a good lodge, we’re always doing anything we can to help people in need,” she said.

Butler started the initiative after seeing a social media post about how health care professionals and first responders were in desperate need of protective gear. There has been a shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment across the country due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“We always try to help out the community any way we can. We’re always on the lookout to do things to make the community better and to help someone in need,” she said.

More than 150 masks have been dispersed throughout the community this past week, thanks to the lodge and more than a dozen volunteers.

“We’re giving them out as fast as we’re making them,” Butler said.

Although the masks the lodge members are making are not medically compliant, any protection helps, she said.

Thus far the group has provided numerous first responders with the masks. The MOose has donated to the Flushing Volunteer Fire Department, Freeport VFD and Neffs Fire Department. Members also donated nearly 100 masks to Wheeling Hospital and Amedisys Home Health and Hospice. Butler said they have also given the masks to individual residents who need them, such as the elderly and people with health issues that may make them more susceptible to contracting the virus and suffering serious complications from it.

“Anyone who wants or needs them, we will do what we can to help,” she said.

The volunteers will soon donate more than 30 masks to Barnesville Hospital, where personnel recently requested them.

In addition to the 100 percent cotton masks the group makes, members are now making more efficient masks that can be washed and reused.The new masks have a protective filter layer that resists water, Butler said.

The group has received numerous donations from fellow residents and local businesses, including a large donation of fabric from JoAnn Fabrics at the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville.

“I’m overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of everyone,” she said. “It is very much appreciated.”

Butler said the volunteers are remaining safe and practicing social distancing while creating the masks. The nightly sewing sessions are benefiting all involved, she added.

“Not only are we helping people in need in our community, but it’s a way to socialize while helping others,” she said.

The lodge volunteers are split up into small separate stations, she said, making sure they stand 6 feet from one another — the minimum social distance recommended by government and health care officials. Some members cut the fabric and materials while others sew.

Butler said there are also people helping with the effort from their homes. Butler said she drops off the material to those who prefer to stay home but still want to help. She then picks up the finished product when the masks are ready.

“It really is a team effort. I may have had the idea, but without all these people, without all our members and people who donate stuff, it would not happen,” she said.

Lodge members are also helping to feed those in need by delivering food to Rescare homes and the elderly in the community.

“I feel really good about what we’ve accomplished and hope to keep doing more,” Butler said.

Any organization in need of face masks can contact Butler via Facebook or call 740-968-1385. Those wishing to donate materials to the group can also contact Butler at the aforementioned number.

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