Many more people in Sumner County are wearing masks to protect themselves from Coronavirus, thanks to the efforts of the many people, mostly women, in the community who have been sewing the protective wear and distributing it free of charge.

Cathy Page, who started a Facebook page to help people give and receive assistance, began her efforts to help people well before the COVID-19 virus appeared. It began last year when her husband gave her a sewing machine for Mother’s Day.

"I asked God to show me how I could use that sewing machine to honor Him," Page said.

She learned to quilt and started making blankets for children and cancer patients. Later, when COVID-19 erupted, Page read about people needing masks. She watched tutorials on YouTube and learned how to make them.

Page asked a doctor at Sumner County Family Care Clinic if the facility could use some masks.

She said yes--200 of them," Page said. "That would take me forever, so I started a group on Facebook called Sumner County Corona Care. I asked in that group if anyone wanted to help me make masks, and several ladies stepped up and started sewing."

Jess Porter, who works in home health, caring for elderly during the day, picks up her kids after work, goes home and makes masks.

"I borrowed a sewing machine so I could help," Porter said. "Most people are making them for hospitals and clinics. I think everyone should have them. There are a bunch of people selling. I have not asked for a cent for them."

Page said she’ll welcome donations to buy new fabrics, saying they are appreciated, but not necessary.

Tunie Caudillo-Sparman said she has made about 50 masks.

"I don't have a lot of off time," she said. "I have used Facebook groups to reach out to people that are looking for them.  I just want to help in some way.

Eileen Pielin, president of the Friends of Charity, a group that sews materials for people with needs, is a former licensed practical nurse who has made many masks for people in the community. When a friend of hers from church said the neonatal Intensive Care Unit she used to work in as a registered nurse in Tennessee needed masks, Pielin made several to be shipped there.

Tamara Philippi said she started making masks after seeing the Sumner County Corona Care Facebook site Page started.

The page is a helpful resource for needs beyond face masks. It’s a place where people can connect with others and do things like buy and deliver groceries for the elderly, offer canned goods or help with homeschooling.

"This is new territory for all of us," it says on the page’s "About" section. "This is not a buy/sell/trade site. This is a place where we can come together as neighbors and as a community, so ask if anyone might have a spare roll of TP, or an extra gallon of milk until a truck comes in...We can do this *better* together. "

Page recalled how she went "overboard" buying sewing fabric in an after Christmas sale.

"But the Lord knew I would need that fabric," she said.

Anyone needing assistance or wanting to volunteer can visit the Sumner County Corona Care page on Facebook.