BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Back in March the knitters and crocheters from the local organization, Knit Crochet With Love, put down their knitting needles and sat down to cut and sew fabric masks for front line health care workers.  

Over 100 volunteers from multiple New Jersey towns rallied to fill the requests from health care facilities all over the United States. “This truly was a community project and was successful because of all the dedicated volunteers who put in their heart and soul in helping the community,” said Richa Gupta, co-founder of the organization.

“People from different ethnic, social and geographical locations came together to help a society in need,” said Gupta. Volunteers from the group created a PDF that included a mask pattern as well as cutting and sewing instructions along with videos to ensure uniformity.  All volunteer efforts were coordinated using WhatsApp. Fabric was donated by people in the community and volunteers were assigned different tasks like cutting, sewing, washing and ironing to create an assembly line type structure. They found that the assembly line structure enabled them to create more masks in a shorter amount of time. “Cutting for 10 masks took about 30 minutes and sewing just one mask was another 20 to 30 minutes,” explained Sudha Pai, co-founder of Knit Crochet With Love. Each task was done at separate locations to ensure safety and social distancing. 

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“We were very fortunate to receive an IDEA grant from the office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. The grant allowed us to provide over 2000 masks to various communities in Newark,” said Gupta. Health care facilities in New Jersey, New York, Boston, Chicago and Seattle all reached out to Knit Crochet With Love for their help. In just a few weeks, this local effort brought about change and hope in the community and united dozens of neighbors who had never met before.

In early July, Knit Crochet With Love wrapped up their mask masking efforts and resumed knitting and crocheting hats and blankets for cancer patients. The group created over 8,500 masks and over 350 surgical caps in just a few short months. “A few of the ladies are continuing to make masks for their friends and family or at the special request from health care facilities,” said Gupta. 

To learn more about Knit Crochet With Love visit their website, https://knitcrochetwithlove.org/.