The following story is from Guardian Pharmacy of Jacksonville President Khristy McClelland about her family’s efforts to support long-term care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, I was talking with an Assisted Living administrator about the supplies they needed. We were discussing how to get them thermometers and alcohol wipes – basic items we could have provided a month ago that aren’t available now. He asked me about getting masks and explained that his staff didn’t have any. He sounded so desperate and exhausted. That’s when I got the idea to start making masks.

My mom taught my daughters to sew when they were about five years old. I have always joked that sewing skipped a generation because she never taught me. That night, I went online to order supplies and we started making masks the next day. I cut the fabric patterns and my daughters sew them. My husband tries them on, and then we make any necessary adjustments to ensure the masks fit properly.

We have faced a few challenges because supplies like elastic are on back order, so we keep changing the pattern to work with supplies that are available. They aren’t perfect, or CDC approved, but hopefully our health care workers are able to use them until medical masks are more available. My daughters and I are keeping spirits high with lots of conversation, musing about the stories they will be telling their kids someday about the 2020 pandemic and how they taught “Nana” (yikes, that will be me one day) how to sew. My oldest daughter is a senior in high school, so this has impacted what should be a fun time in her life. My youngest is a freshman, and she is taking the situation more in stride. We are all happy to be working together as a family to help other people while we look forward to the days when these moments become memories that will be shared with their kids in the future.