Mask Makers: Two Schuylkill County Women Sew with Purpose
BY MICHAEL PECKMAN
BethAnn Blew, Ringtown, northern Schuylkill County, and Debra Matz, Pottsville, have never met, yet each shares a bond with their community and with our local health care professionals. That bond is a desire to help others. For the past three months, both Blew and Matz have sewn and donated masks to Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Schuylkill to help with COVID-19 relief.
“I decided to make masks for LVHN after seeing a post on a fabric supply website about making and donating mask,” says Blew. “I felt it would be a way that I could contribute and try to help during this crisis.” And help she did, mailing 10 perfectly sewn masks to the hospital every week since mid-March, totaling more than 100 donated.
Matz expressed a similar calling to help. “A lot of sleepless nights worrying about people, I wanted to make sure hospital staff were safe and not get their families sick,” says Matz. She borrowed an extra sewing machine so her granddaughter, Emma, could help. She also enlisted her husband and son to help cut material and elastic.
Matz and Blew share a sewing background. Matz, the daughter of a seamstress, worked for more than 16 years in local factories. Blew operates a business called By BethAnn B, featuring handmade fabric items that she sells at a shop in Ringtown and on her Etsy site.
“I feel so very grateful and privileged to be able to try to help as many people as I can in this difficult time. I hope it’s like a pebble in a pool – a good deed, grouped with the deeds of others gets bigger and bigger and bigger,” Blew says.
Sewing and caring
Matz produced hundreds of masks and was able to use some of the fabric donated to LVHN. “With every mask I made the first two weeks, there were many tears when thinking of others and what they were going through,” Matz says. “God blessed me with a great family, friends and sewing skills. Thank you to the great people that donated so much. I am forever humbled.”
Blew and Matz represent more than a dozen Schuylkill County residents and hundreds throughout the Lehigh Valley Health Network service region who helped make the COVID-19 crisis a bit safer for all.
For more inspiring stories like this and patterns to make your own masks, visit LVHN.org/COVIDSTRONG.