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Volunteers stepping up and sewing masks and donating them

The CDC is recommending everyone wear a mask in public and volunteers are stepping up to meet the need.

OREGON CITY, Ore. — Katie Hanovic and her husband Gaylen have turned their dining room into a makeshift sewing room over the last week. 

"I didn't start right away, but then when it came out that everybody should be wearing them, I thought okay I can start sewing them now," Katie said.

Gaylen helps cut the material that has been donated and Katie sews together the masks that she will ship out for free. Hanovic says she can sew a mask once the material is cut in about 5 minutes.

"I'm mailing them around, I've been mailing them to family members in Kansas and Louisiana and Sherwood, Oregon today. I've mailed some to Sandy, Oregon, it's just kind of snowballing."

Down the street from the Hanovics, a neighbor has been making their own masks and placing them outside and hung them from a tree with a sign welcoming those that need one to take one.

"My husband and I went for a walk and it was just so cute that they have these. They have one mask in a plastic bag and she had hung them on her tree and then she put a nice big sign out, 'Mask free, please take one.' It was just such a cute idea that I snapped a picture of it." Katie said.

RELATED: Volunteers needed to sew cloth masks for medical staff and first responders

Compassion in Action of Clackamas County (CIACC) is a non-profit that matches community members, companies and organizations with families who are in need of eligible services. Darlene Fritsche helps run CIACC and has asked her volunteers to sew masks as a way to help out. She says she is in desperate need for seamstresses.

"The requests have exceeded our capacity for quick turnaround," She posted on Facebook in a private group.

She says they have the material, thread and elastic along with the directions needed to make them and would need the person to do a porch pick-up at her home in Oregon City. Once finished, you deliver it back to her or a volunteer can be arranged to come pick up the finished product.

RELATED: Oregon inmates could be one solution to the coronavirus face mask shortage

Fritsche says the amount of requests has been a huge undertaking.

"It's a lot bigger than I thought. A lot bigger."

So far she says they have given out 287 masks with orders for 1,304 more.

Fritsche says the masks are important, especially to protect those with compromised immune systems like her.

"My doctor told me, Darlene, if you get it you're not gonna survive. I've got a lot of lung issues and I've got COPD and I've got asthma and I'm insulin-dependent and diabetic."

Both women say everyone needs to take this more seriously and take the CDC's recommendation of wearing a mask to heart.

"I just hope people listen. Time is something we all have a lot of when we're alive and so the object is to stay that way," Fritsche says.

"I think the more people that wear them, it'll put a little pressure on the people that hesitate to wear them so I think that's a good thing. Now if you go out without a mask on, people look at you a little sideways," Hanovic also says.

If you'd like to help out Fritsche and Compassion in Action with sewing, you can e-mail her at ciacc@comcast.net

RELATED: How to make a DIY cloth face mask

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