Community members have volunteered their time and skills to make personal protection equipment for area organizations.
Shannon Dick of the Finney County Economic Development Corporation, said he has been working with Great Plains MakerSpace to organize the Southwest Kansas COVID-19 Resource Group to address PPE needs in southwest Kansas.
Dick said the purpose of the group is to fill the need they’ve seen in the community for PPE, which include cloth face masks, protective visors, medical grade face masks, ear savers and isolation gowns.
The group began on April 21 and has delivered PPE to organizations in Garden City, Dodge City, Scott City, Liberal, Goodland and Great Bend.
Some of the organizations include Finney County Health Department, Scott County Health Department, St. Catherine Hospital, Garden City High School, Garden City Community College, Mosaic, Garden Valley Retirement Village, Homestead Assisted Living, The Cottages, RecCare, The Ranch House, Trinity Manor and SunPorch.
Everyone involved is donating their time and materials, Dick said. Some of the materials, such as fabric, have been donated as well a some money, but for the most part people have been using their own materials.
“So it’s just a bunch of people from woodworkers up to sewers and 3D printers and everybody in between (banding) together and filling in the needs that our medical and care community has at this time,” he said.
In addition to making the PPE the organization has also been distributing them, Dick said.
Since the group began they have been taking requests of what to make from the area organizations, Dick said. PPE is a big need and each organization is going to have different requirements, but they want to make something that can actually be used.
“We do take specific requests if there's a special need, we’ll fill that,” he said. “We're trying to make sure that whatever gets made can actually be used, because we make it and they can't use it, it doesn't help anything. It can get pretty specific on what the request is.”
For example, a hospital will have different requirements for masks than a public user, Dick said. They may need a different material or filter for a mask.
Other organizations have also gotten involved, Dick said. Some have helped by driving to deliver and distribute the PPE they’ve made.
Response from the community has been great, Dick said.
“We get a request for 100 or 200 face masks and we can get them filled within a couple of days and that's because of all the work that (people in) the community has been doing,” he said. “It really shows how strong we are as a community because ... nobody from Washington, D.C., or Topeka is (doing) these things, it's our community taking care of ourselves. So it's good to see.”