Members of a Florida electric cooperative are making masks to help protect first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they’ve included employees of Peace River Electric Cooperative among the recipients.
In the early days of pandemic response, residents of a condominium complex talked in their community park about the shortage of masks and began making and sharing them.
“As COVID-19 spread throughout America, we realized the greater need outside our park,” said Sandy Hanson, a co-op member.
Twenty-three women who live in the condo community in Zolfo Springs eventually got involved and began producing masks at a faster pace.
“They all helped wherever they could or were needed by cutting fabric, ironing and pinning straps, sewing the masks and taking items from house-to-house while we practiced our social distancing,” Hanson said.
In less than 10 weeks, they’ve made and distributed more than 4,400 masks. Recipients have included local sheriff’s deputies, fire and emergency management personnel, local delivery drivers and the PRECO staff.
“This kind of support from our members really makes a difference,” said Daniel Moore, the Wauchula-based co-op’s safety coordinator. “They donated about 100 masks directly to PRECO. We greatly appreciate their commitment to include us among the people in their community that could use the help.”
The masks went to the co-op’s lineworkers, member services representatives assigned to drive-thru payment duty, warehouse staff and control room employees.
“Having extra masks available will certainly be of help as we begin to look at bringing more of our regular services back to our offices,” said Moore.
The condo volunteers have also sent masks to New York City hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic and Coast Guard and Navy personnel in California and Hawaii.
“The ladies have been very generous, and we appreciate their commitment to our community and others,” said Moore.
Derrill Holly is a staff writer at NRECA.