ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Pinellas County couple is now part of the growing number of people making face masks for first responders and those who need them most.
But this couple has a secret weapon: One of them is an expert in sewing with a degree in fiber arts.
- Elizabeth De La Torre an art teacher, her husband Joshua a nurse
- Couple taking orders on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/joshua.delatorre.102
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Elizabeth De La Torre is now an art teacher and her husband, Joshua, is a nurse at a Pinellas County Hospital.
This weekend Joshua told his wife more about how they have to re-use face masks for the entire day.
“Just not being able to use a new mask for every patient that we see — we go into their rooms and we have to use the same masks for a whole shift," Joshua explained. "And I know it’s not the fault of where I work. It’s just that there aren’t masks to go around."
With that info and her knowledge, Elizabeth wanted to help solve the problem the best way she knows how: with a needle and thread.
“Just because I have a background in fiber arts, which is sewing — I have a degree in it actually — it’s kind of what I do with everything. If I can find a solution for it with sewing I do,” she said.
So she researched and went shopping for what she needed to sew dozens of face masks, but not just any face masks.
“I put a lot of thought into how I made these — not just a piece of fabric or a piece of paper. I thought about the best way to make it so that it’s actually something that could be a barrier,” she said.
“The non-woven fabric from the inside actually prevents droplets from absorbing. It basically repels them, which keeps it away from your face," she explained. "But also the reason I have the pocket is to put a filter in there, and what we’re using is actually A/C filters.”
The mother of three said while the masks aren't N90 masks, they do offer protection.
“We’re not saying our masks are going to stop anything like this virus but if we can help people feel more safe and be just a little more safe instead of having to use the same mask for a whole shift, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Joshua said.
This weekend Joshua posted the mask his wife made for him the orders started pouring in. The couple says they’ve received several orders, including an order for a group of postal workers.
The couple is also giving free masks to people with underlying health issues like Joshua’s parents or anyone one else who wants one. All they ask for is a donation to keep buying supplies.
The couple is taking orders on Joshua’s Facebook page.