Del Rioans are banding together during the ongoing novel coronavirus or COVID-19 crisis, and making cloth masks for those in need.

Amanda Phillips, creator of “Sewing for Del Rio, Texas,” recently began the project as a means to help family members located in Oregon. Now the online group has approximately 45 Del Rioans, with more joining every day.

The group is open to the public and can be found on Facebook.

Phillips said she was inspired to create the group after she came upon articles and posts of healthcare workers in the country dealing with face mask shortages, while searching for sewing patterns. “I reached out to friends and family in the medical field to find out what exactly I could make from home that fit their needs, i.e. material, fit, shape,” Phillips said.

Phillips said many of the people in the group have begun “self-distance” and this seemed like a great opportunity to use the new found free time as an advantage.

“I am really focused on having the community involved. We can all do something to help, and hopefully that will shine through. This whole town is interesting and I want everyone to have an opportunity to be greater than ourselves,” Phillips said.

According to Phillips, she wants the community to know about the group and slowly Del Rioans are discovering it via word-of-mouth.

“I just want us to be a part of the solution … this is truly about saving lives,” Phillips said.

After talking to professionals, there are two different types of preferred designs and both can be found on the group’s online page, Phillips said.

Currently, any finished masks are either picked up by Phillips or dropped off to her. Connie Hoke, the 4-H fashion and interior design project leader and a member of the Val Verde Extension Quilters, reached out to the group and informed her masks can also be dropped off at the 4-H building, according to Phillips.

The masks are available to those who need them, and Phillips said people can post in the group or send her a private message. A Google document is in the works for people to request masks.

“We plan to deliver them where needed. If we come to surpass our need, we would love to help other communities,” Phillips said.

Phillips is able to create at least three masks per day, and with more people sewing, the group will be able to have more masks ready.

“I know some think this is trivial, but why not do our part. If people are new to sewing, this is a great opportunity to learn and help. Those who are experts will teach. We can do something and I don’t want to let this opportunity pass us by,” Phillips said.

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