By Laurin Stroud
Three Trenton women are sewing protective face masks and donating them to community members and health care professionals.
Tiffany Bowen, Keisha Woods, and Pat Bobbitt have been sewing masks a little over a week to fill the gaps of the shortage of personal protective equipment that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed.
“I am not a sewer,” Bowen said. “I actually despise sewing, but my mother had given me a machine and I had elastic and material. It was important to me to make these for people who needed them and for medical professionals. We have made enough to send to all our shut-ins at Trenton First Baptist and other elderly in the neighborhood.”
Bowen’s husband Jason is pastor of the church. Their 11-year-old daughter, CJ, is also helping.
“She loves to sew,” Bowen said. “She is helping me cut and put everything together.”
The masks are close-knit, folded over, with a removable coffee filter for filtration, and a pipe cleaner sewn into the top to form fit over the nose.
“You have to hold it to the window and not be able to see through it,” Bowen said.
Woods also has no sewing background.
“I watched the videos online, just like everyone else did,” she said.
Her mother has cancer and is being treated every two weeks at Kirkland Cancer Center. Woods recently donated 12 masks to the center and wants to donate another dozen when she takes her mom back for another treatment.
“There is no way we can thank them for what they have done for my mom,” Woods said. “I think they deserve a ‘happy.’”
Both ladies said that their sewing days are slowing down because they cannot find the elastic that they need. Masks have become so popular, that most stores are out of elastic.
“We can substitute with elastic headbands [or a tie in the back], but it does not fit the face properly,” Bowen said. “Rubber bands are rough for the elderly.”
Like churches across the county and country, First Baptist members are meeting in different ways due to the COVID-19 crisis. Jason Bowen is streaming his preaching online for members with internet access to watch, but members are eagerly awaiting the day they can return to the church building.
“Just be safe and keep praying,” Woods said. “The day is coming where we can all be together again.”
Editor’s note: We reached out on Facebook to identify community members making and donating masks. We are certain there are many more selflessly giving of their time and talents, and we thank them for their positive contributions to Trenton, Gibson County, and beyond.