Community members and companies throughout the Black Hills have come together to help provide imperative protective equipment for health care workers as they confront COVID-19. MED5 Federal Credit Union in Rapid City and the Foundation for Health in the Northern Hills are two companies that have risen to the occasion.
Pam Brown-Graff, President of MED5, put a call out on the company’s Facebook page that they would donate grant money to anyone willing to sew masks for health care workers. The response they received was huge. According to Betty Quasney Med5 FCU Monument Health Branch Manager, they have so far given over $6,000 in supplies to local sewers and $1,000 to makeSPACE in Spearfish who has a “Masks for Monument” program.
MED5 is supporting 15 sewers, including Jodi Sellers Paverud, a Labor & Delivery nurse at Rapid City Hospital. Jodi and some fellow caregivers had already sewn hundreds of masks, and MED5 gave them $1,000 for their efforts. Masks made with MED5 funds are being distributed throughout Rapid City. They have gone to nursing homes, the blood bank, clinics, and Rapid City Hospital.
Laurie Wince, Director of the Foundation for Health in the Northern Hills, also saw a need. She sews and quilts herself (and has several friends who do the same), and after speaking with a friend who is a nurse she decided to see if the foundation’s board would support purchasing fabric for masks. In the past, the Foundation for Health has purchased fabric for quilts to be made for patients at Lead Deadwood Hospital.
The board approved $3,000, and the Monument Health Foundation ended up matching their donation. What started as a small sewing circle of Laurie and a few friends has become a group of more than 100 people!
“It was a domino effect of all the women and who they knew,” said Laurie. “I was running to get fabric and deliver on porches of people’s homes. It was super awesome.”
Spearfish Laundry and Dry Cleaning has donated free laundering services for the group’s fabric. They launder all the masks that have been completed, fold them and bag them for inventory and distribution, which Laurie says has been a tremendous help.
Both organizations welcome any donations of sewing skills, fabric supplies or funds to purchase more materials. To work with MED5 Federal Credit Union in Rapid City, can contact Pam or Betty by calling 605-342-7776. To work with the Foundation of Health in the Northern Hills, contact Laurie at 605-892-5902 (call or text). The foundation also has a fabric pick-up and mask drop-off location at 140 Sherman Street in Deadwood that is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to Noon.
For more information on Monument Health masks visit: www.monument.health/covidmasks