These companies are stepping up to make medical masks for the pandemic 👏

JOANN Fabrics recently kicked off a program to teach its crafty customers how to make face masks for healthcare workers.

These companies are stepping up to make medical masks for the pandemic 👏

The coronavirus pandemic has hit hospitals across the world so hard that many health care workers have said they're in desperate need of protective gear. Masks and gowns have been in such short supply that many hospitals have begun accepting donations from the public to keep their doctors and nurses covered up, because homemade gear is better than none at all. Several companies are now joining that effort.

JOANN Fabrics recently kicked off a program to teach its crafty customers how to make face masks for healthcare workers. The company is distributing free kits with the fabric and elastic needed to make masks, which you can pick up in any open store.

You can make the masks at home with the help of a free tutorial. If you're a newbie to sewing and need a little more instruction, JOANN is holding sewing classes in store which the company says will be limited in size to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Joann stores will then collect the finished products and handle distribution.

JOANN's CEO Wade Miquelon says stores were seeing medical professionals come in to buy fabric for masks, and the company wanted to find a way to help. "So many are spending their time and money to help in this tragic situation, and we want to step in to do our part to protect the amazing people who are helping the communities we serve," he said. "It is a frightening time for many, but we have a generous community who can make a big difference as our healthcare system faces this crisis."

How to Make a Face Mask

JOANN's isn't the only store joining the effort to make protective gear for hospitals. Companies across the country have voluntarily converted their factories to produce masks. That includes Rough Linen, a California-based home brand that's now churning hundreds of masks a week for the staff of Kaiser Permanente.

The company says it collaborated with the hospital system to work out the safety specifications for the masks to make them as effective as possible. "This is a wonderful use for our linen," founder Tricia Rose said. "We always try to minimize waste and this is the best possible way for us to give back to the community when it needs us most."

Courtesy Rough Linen

In New York, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., the need for masks, gowns, and other protective gear became so dire that the state's governor took to Twitter to put out a plea for help. Thankfully, several designers and companies answered that call.

That includes designer Christian Siriano, whose team of seamstresses switched gears from high fashion to medical gear. They're now churning out thousands of masks a week and they're already shipping them out.

Other clothing companies have also stepped up. With retail stores shuttered in many locations, stores like Eddie Bauer and Gap have converted their factories as well. While the Gap will tackle masks, gowns, and scrubs, Eddie Bauer—which is headquartered near hard-hit Seattle—will focus on making N95 masks to be donated to Washington state, according to CNBC.

The need for this type of gear is truly staggering—one New York City hospital estimated it would need about 70,000 masks per day to get through the pandemic—so it's truly an all hands on deck situation. Whether it's a single crafter with a sewing machine or a massive corporation with a factory, kudos to all those helping to meet the demand.

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less