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East Hampton Volunteers Undertaking Massive Mask Making Project

Nicole Barylski

Bonnie Brady inspired Ilissa Meyer to spearhead the East Hampton efforts. (Photo: Bonnie Brady)

A group of more than 60 dedicated volunteers are coming together to make approximately 800 masks for East Hampton health care workers, first responders, and essential workers.

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Ilissa Meyer, who is spearheading the project.

How did this project come to be?

IM: Bonnie Brady is doing it in Montauk. She put the word out that she was looking for fabric and we got in touch with each other. We're friends. She came, picked up some fabrics from me and said, "You know, you should do this in East Hampton."

So, I made a few calls, figured out what we would need. Bonnie helped a lot with deciding what things we should do and what things we shouldn't do, because she'd already gone through it all. So, we are basically doing the same model that she did - just on a little bit of a bigger scale. She's dealing mainly with Montauk and we're going to deal with the rest of the town. We're going to try to get ahold of everyone that's from Wainscott to Amagansett, because they're already doing Montauk.

Our goal is to make around 800 masks right now. However, we are still waiting on the filter material, which I'm hoping will be here Thursday morning. I've got 15 sewers lined up to cut the fabric, people to call businesses to make sure they're open, and if they're open, see if they need masks for essential workers. We want to make sure that whoever's feeding this town and whoever's taking care of this town right now has a proper mask. That's really important.

As well as any healthcare workers and any veterinary hospital - because they are all open and have to deal with either people or animals.

Are volunteers still needed?

IM: I can always use more people to transport fabric and pieces and stuff like that. Really, right now, we need material. We need 100 percent cotton fabric. We need half-inch grosgrain ribbon. We need Ziploc bags so that we make sure that everything is sealed individually and nothing contaminates each other.

We've been up and been doing this a little over a week now. I've been dealing with putting it together, figuring out how many people we need, who can do what the best, and utilize people the best way possible. LVIS has been very, very helpful. So has the East Hampton Sportsmen's Alliance. There's a bunch of people that have been. I have certain people running certain parts of it, so that as soon as this material comes in, we can get to sewing, which is the most important thing. Local community is the most important thing and we've got to take care of our local community.

Are you a member of LVIS?

IM: I am a member of LVIS and I went to them and asked them if they would donate. They had no problem donating the fabric, which has been great because we're already getting that cut. I put a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/EHCovid19Masks) together so people can come look at the page. I've been trying to update it daily right now, but I've still been making a lot of phone calls just putting everything into place. As soon as the material gets here, the filter material, we can go right to work. I don't want to have to be waiting on something else.

Bonnie had the pattern already set to go. There's a video of how we're making the masks, which is fantastic. All our sewers are going to be doing the same thing. Bonnie chose a pattern that is perfect because it'll cover a broad range of people.

If someone is either looking to donate materials or in need of masks, what's the best way to contact you?

IM: EHCovid19Masks@gmail.com

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

IM: Everyone stay healthy and safe. Please, please do not take this as a joke. Because we have an older population out here, and from what we see, it could affect us still. Our numbers out here are still increasing. We have to watch out for each other.


Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski




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