Great Plains MakerSpace, through the creation of the Southwest Kansas COVID-19 Resource Group, has been coordinating efforts to help alleviate our regional need for PPE by fabricating medical supplies for medical providers and other area agencies. The group, created less than a month ago, has seen a number of volunteers willing to step up and donate materials, sew, cut, and deliver the products. In the past week the group, which is based out of Garden City, has started seeing requests from Dodge City medical providers for help in getting access to PPE.
The group was intended to provide regionally, so MakerSpace members reached out on Facebook through various Dodge City based groups and asked if area residents would be willing to join the group and help fill the need. Many individuals volunteered their services, including Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas, which is based out of Dodge City. The agency volunteered to be the local drop off point in Dodge City for crafters to drop off their donations of face masks, gowns and other fabricated equipment.
Another recent development in the area has been the need for face shields and ear savers for the fabric face masks. The group has a few members that have access to 3D printers, so they have started cutting visors and face shields, as well as the ear savers, which will help relieve strain on ears when wearing the face masks with elastic loops.
As of this week, the group has finished and delivered over 500 cloth face masks and over 300 ear savers. Gowns are becoming a growing demand, and access to fabric has become an issue. While the face masks can typically be made with small scraps of fabric, the gowns take quite a bit more fabric. Locals have reached out and donated bolts of fabric and many medical agencies have donated bedsheets and other large pieces of fabric to help in the gown fabrication process. The group has over 30 requests for gowns to date.
Most of the donation requests have come from medical providers in the area, but a few have come from local organizations as well. Masks were requested by USD 457 to aid teachers in the delivery of continuous learning packets and Garden City Community College requested masks for the few remaining students that they have living in the dorms.
The Southwest Kansas COVID-19 Resource Group is a perfect example of the spirit of southwest Kansas. Area residents have come together to assist those in need, no matter what city or town they live in. They are the epitome of what western Kansas is all about. In the end, no matter their zip code, people have worked together for the betterment and need of our region.
If you or someone you know is interested in helping the group, the Facebook group can be found by searching “Southwest Kansas COVID-19 Resource Group” or a link can also be found on the Great Plains MakerSpace Facebook page here.