Honoring the rich history of the American Red Cross’ rapid response to the Spanish flu, a new project has launched to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by making face coverings for veteran and military hospitals and military installations across the world. Currently, crafters all over the globe are putting needle to thread to honor this 100-year-old tradition of supporting military families through sewing.
That work is also happening right here in South Carolina
“It is my happy place. I think God gives us all talents and abilities. It is mechanical and I get to be creative and use my imagination –it is just a really nice, calming place,” said Red Cross Volunteer, Lornia Winnen, who has sewn over 300 face coverings over the past few months.
Winnen is just one of many volunteers that are working to craft these coverings for our veterans and their families.
“They have given up their lives literally, so I can sleep at night in peace and safety in America. So, by sewing a mask and giving it to a veteran or their family member, if it provides them some comfort, peace and maybe safety? It is absolutely worth every minute I spend working on it,” said Winnen.
Winnen’s comes from a military family and her husband also served in the military. She says she spends time working on different parts of the mask whether the stitching, the ironing or the washing.
“There are so many different types. We have the ones with elastic and then we have the one with ties. I don’t count anymore I just make sure they are ready!,” laughed Winnen.
'The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center team and our Veterans are extremely grateful for all the donations and kindnesses shown to us as we continue responding to COVID-19 and work to safely expand our services as the community reopens. Our VA is observing a universal masking policy for everyone who comes to our facilities including patients with appointments and our staff members to help provide the safest environment possible for delivering the high quality care our Veterans deserve," said Tonya Lobbestael, with the VA.
Red Cross Volunteers have deliverd face coverings to different locations across South Carolina.
“As far as military personnel, sometimes they feel left out or not honored and I feel like this is a way to honor them in a simple way,” Winnen said. “Give it a try! The CDC has guidelines for making them and they are very simple and there are many other ones on Youtube. Play with it, and before you know it, you will be making masks and mastering that skill.”
If you would like to take part in this historic effort, we encourage you to reach out to your local Red Cross chapter to see if there is a need in your community. You can reach out to Karen Cook at 843-693-8441. The Red Cross asks everyone to follow CDC face covering guidelines when creating. Once finished sewing, the completed products or materials can be dropped off at your local Red Cross for their distribution.
“Why not help the veterans? Why not help their family members? Think of it as a way to give back to someone who has given so much to us,” Winnen said.
In the face of disasters like COVID-19, the American Red Cross and global Red Cross Red Crescent network join together to ease people’s suffering. Find out how you can volunteer at home and across the globe at redcross.org. For more information about American Red Cross’s work around the world, visit redcross.org/international.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.