Helena shop making face masks for community members in need

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer 

HELENA – When Deedra George heard about a widespread shortage of face masks available to health care workers amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, she decided to do what she could to help meet the need locally.

As the owner of By George, a screen printing, embroidery and alterations shop in Helena, George has the materials and manpower needed to make protective masks for people – doctors’ office employees, nursing home employees and others – who currently cannot find a N95 mask, a type of personal protective equipment that acts as a barrier between the person wearing the mask and airborne particles.

“I just saw the need in the community with the N95 masks not being available right now, and needed something for our employees to keep busy on,” George said. “I came in yesterday and started figuring out my pattern and materials.”

George and her staff are using a tightly-woven cotton fabric to make the masks, and attaching three different lengths of elastic to accommodate adults and children.

The #MillionMaskChallenge on social media reflects a national movement to provide more masks during the coronavirus pandemic, George said.

She and her staff are making masks as quickly as possible to give away, free of charge, to those who expressed a need via the shop’s Facebook page or website, Bygeorgeusa.com.

George said she can arrange for masks to be delivered somewhere, or they can be picked up from the shop, which is located at 102 Gunner Lane in Helena.

“Things change on a daily basis, so we’re just trying to be flexible and take care of as many people as we can,” George said. “It’s a good distraction for me, to not dwell on the bad stuff and try to do something positive. There is a need out there, and we just wanted to help.”

For more information about the masks or to donate materials, call Deedra George at (205) 663-7004 or visit the By George Facebook page.