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Utah County group sews hundreds of masks for first responders, senior facilities

Posted at 10:30 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 14:01:33-04

UTAH COUNTY — A Utah County volunteer group is making sure first responders have the supplies they need to stay safe during COVID-19.

On Tuesday afternoon, three women brought a box full of resealable bags to the Lehi City Police Department. Each resealable bag was stuffed with bright, colorful fabric.

Three officers each took a bag.

"Awesome!" said Officer Morgan Page, as he looked it over.

Normally, if someone brings in goodies to a police station, it's to thank them for their service.

On this day, it was to protect.

And the officers, were the ones doing the thanking.

"Thank you guys so much," one of the officers said. "These are really cool."

The trio of women-- Lizzy Mildenhall, Amber Irwin and Kathi Schunn-- noticed police and fire departments across northern Utah Valley, were in short supply of masks to protect against COVID-19.

"That's one area that I think people aren't thinking of," Schunn said.

Officers said they sometimes re-use their masks.

"I was handed a handful, four or five of them, to rotate throughout," Ofc. Page said, of his mask supply.

Mildenhall decided to spearhead an effort to sew masks.

"I know there are lots of people like me, who want to do something," she said.

Except there was a problem-- Mildenhall doesn't own a sewing machine.

She turned to Facebook and created the Making Masks - North Utah Valley group. Soon, dozens of volunteers signed up. They shared the recommended patterns and designs.

Mildenhall also helped set up fabric donation and mask drop-off spots in different places around the north end of the valley. Sewers can pick up cut or uncut fabric, and come back to drop off the masks they made with the fabric.

In less than two weeks, Mildenhall said volunteers have made 600 masks to pass out.

They're also delivering to nursing homes and senior living facilities, and other healthcare places as well.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mildenhall stopped at Abbington Manor in Lehi to give them 112 masks.

"So cute!" the employee exclaimed, looking at all the colors and designs. "Thank you so much."

The masks for Lehi Police were made in a fabric just for them-- blue with badges, and gray with the word "SWAT."

"The pattern is awesome," Officer Nolan Jenkins said with a smile, looking at the masks.

"If we can make it fun for them, and we have cute SWAT fabric, we are going to make it for the police," Irwin said.

The three women explained they wanted to jump in and do their part.

"We appreciate it greatly," Ofc. Page said. "Thank you."

Click here to learn more about Making Masks - North Utah Valley.

There are other groups in Utah also making masks for their local first responders and healthcare workers. They include: Sewing for Lives in Salt Lake City, Making Masks - Davis and Weber Counties in Utah, and Santaquin Mask Sewing.