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Avon woman prompts hundreds to make masks for health care workers

The latest on the coronavirus on March 28 on News 8 at 11 p.m.

AVON, Ind. (WISH) — An Avon woman jumpstarts a movement that’s created thousands of masks for local health care workers, and it’s only been one week.

Over 700 people have hopped on board to get health care workers the protective gear they’re lacking. The goal is to make the process easy enough that even someone without much sewing experience can help. But what Erika Pike has seen over the last week is nothing short of incredible.

Sew and Serve started out with just Erika Pike. Sewing was a hobby she thought she could put to use by making a few masks with some friends throughout the quarantine.

“I thought I knew 50 people who sewed,” Pike said. “And maybe we could make a thousand masks. That’s what I thought. ‘We could make a thousand masks. Wouldn’t that be so great?’ and look at us now.”

Saturday — just eight days after starting — her project has hundreds of people sewing, donating and distributing. They’re all trying their best to help healthcare workers on the front lines stay safe at all Indianapolis-area hospitals.

“The demand is over 20,000,” Pike said. “Our requests are over 20,000 in 11 counties now.”

Over 3,000 masks have been stitched and dropped into the 15 drop off boxes they have set up. Over 1,000 masks were donated just Friday. Each mask meets CDC guidelines and is requested before it’s delivered to a hospital.

“We contact each one individually and say ‘This is our pattern, is this acceptable? And how many would you like, and how critical is the need?’” Pike said. “So we’ll have requests of two thousand and we’ll say ‘Well, how soon do you need how many?’ and they’ll say ‘We are out today.’”

The goal just a couple days ago was to make 17,000 masks, but after seeing the response, Pike is now aiming to create 50,000 masks.

“We also had someone who reached out today and said ‘OK, so the demand is reaching further? I have a private plane. Where do you need these to?’” Pike said. “People are donating. They’re called to this action. They want to help and it’s been really amazing.”

Pike says when masks are dropped off in a box, they’ll go to hospitals close to the drop off. Since the organization started in Avon, they have the most producers and the most masks but they could always use more.

If you’d like to help in any way you can, even if you don’t know how to sew, you can check out their Facebook page or their GoFundMe for fundraising.