MONTVILLE, NJ – A Montville woman has made it her personal mission to sew hundreds of face masks for area medical professionals, taking on the call for personal protective gear head on.

Joanna Kloda says she learned to sew when she was about 10 because there was nothing on store shelves in her homeland, Poland. By age 13, she was sewing for family and friends. When she saw that the Coronavirus had hit Poland, people were already sewing masks in their homes to try to help medical professionals keep up with the demand for protective gear, she said.

“I wanted to start about two weeks ago,” she told TAPinto Montville. “The U.S. was about 10 days behind Europe [in the spread of the virus], and I knew sooner rather than later we were going to need them. At that time I asked a nurse from one of the hospitals if I could make masks for them, but she said they only needed N95s. I told her how it is in Europe but she said no thank you.”

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A few days later, hospitals across the country changed their minds. Atlantic Health, the owner of Morristown Medical Center, reached out via their website regarding their need for home-sewn masks, Kloda saw the post and began to sew in earnest.

Kloda said she has been sewing every day – about 50 per day – since March 26, and was able to drop off more than 80 to Morristown Medical Center on March 29. She gave away another 40 to local nurses, she said. The demands of helping her kids with homework and running a household have made it hard to find the time, but she keeps sewing nonetheless. As she ran out of materials, she appealed to the Montville Moms Facebook group.

“I have one lady who constantly delivers brand-new sheets, and another who is willing to help with cutting fabrics,” she said. “Sewing itself isn’t hard, but the preparation takes a lot of time – the washing, ironing and cutting.”

Kloda is accepting donations outside her home at 28 Valhalla Rd. of elastic and material – flannel and tight-woven cotton.

For more information about the materials and sewing masks, see Atlantic’s COVID-19 page: Atlantic

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