ROBBINSVILLE, NJ -- When TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville first caught up with Mercer Mask Project in mid-March, the volunteer group of just five individuals had already made 105 masks for health care workers and first responders to protect them from COVID-19 (coronavirus). In the two months since, their volunteer army has grown in leaps and bounds to provide approximately 14,000 masks and almost 1,000 protective gowns to nurses, police and fire officers, grocery store workers, pharmacists, nursing home staff and others.
One of the Mercer Mask Project founders, Cindy Rosen, said the "outpouring of support from the community has been tremendous. We all personally thank everyone who has supported the project."
Masks and gowns have been provided to entities primarily throughout Mercer County but also to specific needs areas such as the naval ship U.S. Mercy when it was docked in New York City.
Rosen said the group is always looking for new sewers since many of the current volunteers have been sewing around the clock for two months and the effort "has become a full-time job for everyone." Approximately 150 people, ranging from eight years old to their 90s, have volunteered to participate in the Mercer Mask project.
In addition to sewing, volunteers drive completed masks to their donation location, launder materials, package them, and shop for materials. Porch pick up at various houses helps keep the project moving along without direct person-to-person contact.
As the requests for masks and gowns have grown so too has the organization. Mercer Mask is now an official non-profit organization and have set up a Go Fund Me page to help cover the costs of fabric and sewing supplies. Donations, organizers say, have ranged from $5 to a few hundred.
Anyone who is interested in participating in the Mercer Mask Project can email MercerMaskProject@gmail.com or send a direct message through Facebook. Fabric also can be dropped off at Rosen's home porch located at 4 Eisenhower Drive in Robbinsville.
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