CAMDEN, NJ — The Heart of Camden launched its “Sewing for Seniors” campaign on Monday and already has gathered 100 face masks, nearly halfway to their goal of 250.

“This is as much about raising awareness than anything else,” Heart of Camden executive director, Carlos Morales, told TAPinto Camden. “The safety aspect is important because you’re not just protecting yourself but those around you. Also as a part of distribution with the face masks we plan to hand out CDC guidelines about social distancing, and the importance of taking precautions." 

Morales said that when the non-profit launched the campaign earlier this week, he wouldn’t know that in just two days serendipity would give further impetus to their efforts.

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Gov. Phil Murphy would sign an executive order mandating that supermarket visitors are required to wear protective face masks when shopping - regardless of age.

“More masks for everyone else means less availability for medical workers and there’s already a shortage,” he said. “We hope to provide assistance to the most vulnerable, seniors, and at the same time [provide] some relief for those at hospitals that need more resources.”

Dubbed “sewing warriors” by the Heart of Camden, the group released a call-to-action, sharing that “many tutorials have popped up on how to make effective washable face masks.”

That includes a step by step walkthrough from U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams himself.

In its guidance for coverings, the CDC clarifies online that, “The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.”

Those, it says, are critical supplies that should continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

The Heart of Camden has provided COVID-19 response in other ways recently as well - working with Virtua Mobile Farmers Market to deliver non-perishables and fresh vegetables to over 100 families and residents at the end of March.

“Goodwill of South Jersey also helped us to provide kids and adults pampers to those who were in need,” said Morales, noting the non-profit has also worked closely with local homeless shelters and the Camden Housing Authority.

“This is about us all pulling together,” he said.

Anyone interested in donating face masks to the Heart of Camden call 856-966-1212 ext 108.

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