Church members respond to call to make masks

The Mathews family from West Jordan, Utah, assembles clinical face masks for state health care workers who are providing relief to COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Eden Mathews (far left) is a Relief Society president for her Latter-day Saint congregation and organized the distribution of more than 1,000 clinical face masks to fellow congregants who also volunteered to participate in the Project Protect initiative. (Church Newsroom)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has started delivering masks to healthcare workers across Utah as part of the “Project Protect” initiative that launched April 17.

Utahns have been working non-stop the past few weeks to complete as many masks as possible. Hayley Ford, a recent BYU graduate living in Eagle Mountain, Utah, has spent many hours sewing alongside her mother and her sister. Ford said it feels good to help out, even if she’s just a small part of a much larger group.

“It feels like when you make one mask, one mask doesn’t really make that much of a difference. But if there’s so many people working together, you can really make a dent in something that may seem insurmountable,” Ford said.

Kits come with 100 masks each and all the materials needed to sew them together. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Other participants are just grateful to have something to do. Eden Mathews from West Jordan, Utah, is the Relief Society president in her ward. She said in a press release from the church that before the initiative, the women in her ward had just been sitting at home without much to do and that they’d wanted to be able to reach out and help more. Mathews picked up more than 1,200 face masks, which have been distributed among her ward members.

Another volunteer group in northern Utah has completed over 30,000 masks relay style, according to the press release.

“We are so grateful for the people that are just willing to give up their time and their talents and their abilities to work on this project,” said Sister Reyna L. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, in the press release.

Many healthcare workers are also expressing gratitude for people’s willingness to help. According to the press release, the effort has allowed healthcare workers to use their supplies without worrying about running out.

Face mask kits ready for pickup in Utah as part of the COVID-19 relief effort. Latter-day Saint Charities is partnering with Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health to help sew 5 million clinical face masks to be donated to health care workers. (The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints)

“Thank you from the front line. Your service and sacrifice (are) making a difference,” said Deann Robinson, a nurse administrator at Intermountain Garfield Memorial Hospital in Panguitch, Utah, according to the Church’s press release.

The initiative is set to continue through Saturday, May 23, with the goal of five million masks being completed by that time.

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