In a national emergency, some people’s initial thoughts are to fight over toilet paper. Others, like Good News Network reader Trina Branella, immediately want to leap to the aid of those in the front lines of the crisis.
Trina began constructing and sewing cloth masks for a project in Indiana to help teenage cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Then, wanted to donate more masks to workers at four local chemo centers in New Jersey, spurred on by a friend of hers whose mother has cancer “and right now she’s using a bandana.”
While running low on fabric and unable to purchase more, she asked around to see if there was anyone willing to donate to a good cause, but had no luck.
She then reached out to us at Good News Network on Friday, the very same day GNN received a press release from JOANN fabric Stores announcing that the U.S. company would begin donating materials to anyone looking to sew together masks, gowns, or other essential medical equipment for healthcare workers.
After learning the JOANN Stores were launching the program on March 23, we submitted Trina’s order to the company and they said the supplies would be mailed immediately to her in Somerdale, New Jersey.
Branella was thrilled to hear about the donation program and ordered 5 yards of flannel, and a couple packets of 1/8 inch elastic.
“I just have this warm, little fuzzy going on right now,” she told GNN by phone. “I’m so happy they’re doing something. I love JOANN’s.”
Beyond just donated materials, JOANN had the brilliant idea of offering “Ship-to-Home” or “Curbside Pickup” options, so customers don’t have to come into the stores.
The chain includes 865 stores across 49 states (find your local store here)—but not all shops may be participating, so telephone the store first.
“The amazing thing about the crafting community is that, especially in difficult times, they are always looking for ways to help,” said Wade Miquelon, President & CEO of JOANN.
All open JOANN locations will serve as collection points, too, so that people sewing in their homes can drop off any items created, which will then be distributed to medical centers to help extend their dwindling supplies of protective equipment.
“We are seeing hospital workers, organizations and individuals coming into our stores for supplies to make these essential items, and our customers are asking us how they can help,” Miquelon added. “So many are spending their time and money to help in this tragic situation, and we want to step in to do our part to protect the amazing people who are helping the communities we serve.”
They say they will also open their classrooms—while adhering to social distancing guidelines—to any who want to help make these essential items. Participating locations will offer sewing machines, materials and guidance to help customers safely make face masks and covers, gowns and other items to donate to America’s hospitals.
“We have a generous community who can make a big difference as our healthcare system faces this crisis,” Miquelon said. “We’re here to support them, and all who make to give year round. We are all in this together.”
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