Even though Hunterdon 4-H club meetings, the Fair and other group activities have been canceled since the middle of March because of the pandemic, members and their parents and club leaders have been busy performing a variety of community service projects.
From making masks and face shields to assembling “goodie” bags for children, they’ve been helping others deal with the Covid-19 situation, said Sherrie Peterson, county 4-H program assistant.
“We’re so proud that our 4-H members and the adults guiding them stepped up in this time of national crisis to help others," she said.
"Community service has always been a part of 4-H," she added. "In times like these, it’s gratifying to see that they follow the principals of 4-H, learning and helping others. The 4-H Pledge that members take includes the promise to use their 'hands to larger service,' and our members are certainly doing that.
Members of the Robostorm robotics club used their skills to make face shields for healthcare workers. Each takes about two hours to make and assemble, and the club manufactured more than 650 shields. Robostorm has a 3D printer and borrowed an additional printer, allowing them to produce 20 shields a day. Members Michael Rowe, of Delaware Township, and Aidan Ferry and John Brereton, both of Pittstown, 3D printed about 100 face shield headbands that the club prepared and gave to hospitals.
The Robostorm club has access to a GlowForge laser cutter. They purchased enough PETG plastic to cut out 115 face shields and had some more material donated. The leftover sections were from sheets that a Pennsylvania firm normally used to make medical device trays.
Design and information on making the shields can be found at https://www.prusa3d.com/covid19/ and https://hackaday.io/project/170481-laser-cut-medical-shield. Most of the face shields were provided to 11 New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania hospitals, as well as to some individual doctors, nurses, a hospice center, some urgent care centers, two rescue squads, three senior residences and a VA hospital, Peterson reported.
Robostorm leader Kristin Laktaif, of Ringoes, purchased $350 in snacks, bundled them with the club’s face shields in “care” packages and delivered them to four very hard-hit NYC hospitals, including Elmhurst. One of the doctors in a New York City hospital who received the shields “even referred to our face shields on BBC World News,” she noted.
Also from Robostorm, leaders Derrick and Sandy Rowe donated N95 masks and three half-face masks to nurses at Hunterdon Medical Center. They gave a visiting nurse associated with the Capital Health network of hospitals some 300 disposal gloves, some Tyvek clean room lab coats, a package of disposable masks and two boxes of surgical hoods.
Ashlee Gibbons, of Franklin Township, along with multiple 4-H clubs (Kick Butt Kids, Hunterdon Hogs, Hunterdon Hoppers, Mount Airy Dairy and Junior Leaders) produced 500 snack bags to first responder groups including rescue squads and fire companies throughout Hunterdon.
Carol Weisenbacher, of Pittstown, a volunteer adult leader of the Hunterdon County 4-H Youth Council, made and distributed more than 250 face masks. They were donated to numerous groups, including United Way of Hunterdon; a cancer center; the Navajo Nation, because the Native American region suffers great poverty, with many having no running water or electricity; New Horizon Village in Lecanto, FL., an intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities; volunteers at Somerset Regional Animal Shelter (SRAS); staff at the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in Union Township; and Sammi, a young woman with a rare disease who just graduated from college
The Hunterdon County Sheep Club conducted a food drive for the Flemington Area Food Pantry, and also hand-wrote notes to be given along with food deliveries to clients of Meals on Wheels of Hunterdon. Susan Miller, of Raritan Township, a leader of the club, sewed masks for healthcare workers at Hunterdon Medical Center.
Peterson reported that the Majorossy family, of Readington Township, was also busy making items for health care workers. Jackie Majorossy, leader of the Creative Kids 4-H Club, and daughters Annabelle and Grace sewed surgical caps for the Medical Center; made mask covers for workers at area nursing homes; and masks for another Native American group, the Zuni children, as well as for the Navajo EMS squad.
The Dabb family, of Union Township, including Sandy, a volunteer with the Fur and Feathers 4-H Club, and her son Jack sewed masks for sailors at Pearl Harbor Navy Base in Hawaii. Her son, Jonah, is stationed there and helped distribute them, giving two each of the washable masks to 25 comrades.
The Weniger family, of Ringoes, Emma and Miranda along with their parents, created ear loop extensions which help prevent sores from wearing masks. The extensions were donated to Wegmans employees in Bridgewater.
Maguire Mallea of Readington Township and fellow members of Hunterdon Hoppers and members of the Junior Leaders worked on 300 “goodie bags for children. They were filled with agriculture-related books, mazes and puzzles. Maguire filled the bags with the donated items and his brother, Ryan, helped deliver them to the Flemington Area Food Pantry.