It started out as a Facebook Group to connect sewing volunteers across Bozeman to make face masks for local healthcare workers and first responders.
“This has given a lot of people something to do,” said JoAnne Nordhagen, co-founder of Medical Masks for Bozeman.
“You know, people are quarantined , some people, they don’t have jobs, and it's sad, but this is giving them something to feel like they’re giving back in time when they’d otherwise felt helpless.”
The need for personal protective equipment for healthcare workers is felt across the country. Gallatin County is no different.
Medical Masks for Bozeman is less than a week old and has more than 1,400 followers on Facebook eager to volunteer.
Those who don’t sew have stepped up to take on different needed roles.
Many help gather supplies or help with drop-offs and delivery.
“We have a lot of volunteers who don’t sew, who are collecting fabric for us and processing it by washing it, ironing it, cutting it to pieces that they need,” said Kari Aberly, co-founder of the group.
Once complete, masks are packaged securely to reduce exposure.
“People are digging fabric out from everywhere and donating it to the volunteers who are willing to sew,” said Aberly.
That includes JoAnne Fabric and Walmart, which have donated fabric, and Simms Fly Fishing Apparel which has pledged to donate 500 homemade masks.
Organizers are thankful for the power of social media during this time, but also the warmth of the community.
“It’s that volunteerism, it’s that Montana spirit that I’ve seen from the day I was born and old enough to recognize it. Montanans have always, always stepped up,” said Nordhagen.
You can join in the effort or donate to the cause by searching for Medical Mask for Bozeman on Facebook or by visiting their website: https://masksforheroes.org