BELMAR, NJ — A group of Belmar volunteers continues its mission to support the community during the coronavirus outbreak — producing hundreds of face coverings for individuals in need of the personal protection items.

And three borough residents who have been the driving force behind the effort recently visited two local long-term care facilities — Preferred Care at Wall and Neptune Gardens for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Neptune — where they donated several dozens of filtered masks, ear guards for masks and face shields.

Sharon Russell-Fowler, and Patricia and John Hutchinson were warmly welcomed at both facilities, which were identified by the New Jersey Hospital Association as being in need of the gear. Russell-Fowler contacted the West Windsor-based organization to see where their handcrafted items would be most welcome during these difficult times.

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“Both facilities were extremely thankful for the donations,” said Fowler, who along with the Hutchinsons came together in early March to offer their talents during the current public health crisis.

Since then, they have brought aboard other volunteer sewers, and the group has collectively made nearly 1,000 masks and ear guards, and more than 200 face shields — a specialty developed by John Hutchinson using 3D printers. While Russell-Fowler has crafted nearly 500 masks, Patricia Hutchinson and Terri Lynch have sewn another 500 combined, with others adding to the inventory of masks and ear guards, including Cheri Russo, Elba Perez and Johanna Robinson.

READ MORE: Belmar Volunteers 'Sew Motivated' to Meet Community's Need for Face Masks

And the results of their labor of love have been far-reaching. In addition to providing personal protection items to frontline workers and residents at nursing homes, they made sure all residents at the Belmar senior housing building have face coverings for everyday use. They also were called upon by a local nonprofit to provide masks to participants in a virtual charity run.

The group’s efforts also have benefited veterans groups as part of its participation in the SOSmatters Face Mask Sewing Group on Facebook, which has distributed masks by request throughout the state.

For more information on joining the effort, contact Cathy Goetz, editor of TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como, at

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