It’s easy to feel powerless during a pandemic. But a few selfless PARC residents and team members have found their own special way to help healthcare workers in the fight: sewing. Whether it’s masks, caps or ear savers, these heroes of needle and thread are putting their skills, smarts, and energy toward an excellent cause:
The masked hero: Rebecca at Summerhill PARC
Receptionist, Rebecca has been sewing up a storm since the pandemic began, creating 172 masks for Summerhill PARC staff, and another 43 for family and friends. A seasoned seamstress, she used patterned quilter’s cotton fabric that she bought from fabric stores over the years, making everything on a vintage portable sewing machine.
“It was a good excuse to pare down my fabric stash!” says Rebecca, who has been sewing since high school and makes all kinds of other items when she isn’t sewing masks. “I sew things to use around the house, plus make clothing alterations and Halloween costumes,” she says. “Residents will remember that I sewed my own wedding dress, too!”
Champion of many hats: Pat at Summerhill PARC
When resident Pat read an article in the North Shore News about hospital workers in dire need of scrub caps, she answered the call. For her first amazing feat, she whipped up more than 250 caps for Vancouver Coastal Health workers, in fabulous colours and patterns – made from fabric scraps leftover from years of sewing projects, and donated by family and friends.
Pat has been sewing for many years and loves all things crafty, often sewing costumes for Halloween and other themed events. What better time to put those skills to work?
“I’d like people to know that even as you get older, you can still help and contribute to the community in so many ways,” she says. With that in mind, she’ll be recruiting other sewers to make more caps in the future.
Savers of sore ears: the Oceana PARC seamstress team
A group of Oceana PARC residents have joined “Operation Save the Ears,” sewing headbands that prevent sore ears in workers who must wear masks for long hours.
Active Living Manager Jessica has an aunt who works at Surrey Memorial Hospital and learned there was a drive to create ear savers for healthcare workers. So Jessica contacts her to see if she needed more. She did indeed, so a team of 10 Oceana PARC residents and three staff members stepped up to help.
“We have many active sewers, crocheters and knitters who all came together to help this project,” says Jessica, who brought in her personal sewing machine for the project (PARC is now ordering more sewing machines for residents to use). Jessica provided fabric from her own personal stash to get things started, along with a jar of vintage buttons that belonged to her grandmother, who happened to be a nurse.
Each headband has two buttons, that attach to a mask’s handles instead of the ears, preventing chaffing and irritation. The group has made 70 so far, for Surrey Memorial Hospital and PARC staff, and plans to make more.
So let’s all give a big cheer for these hard workers behind the scenes, doing their part to help the true heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic: healthcare workers on the frontlines.
As an independent-living community for older adults, PARC Retirement Living is committed to the health and well-being of all seniors. We’ve been watching events unfold closely, and offering information to help where we can. Visit our COVID-19 page for helpful resources on coping during the pandemic.